Jean Redele

Jean Redele was the son of the Renault concessionaire in the town of Dieppe on France's north coast. After the war he decided that he wanted to go racing and converted a Renault 4CV into a car which could be raced and rallied. By 1951 his conversions had turned into a business and he established Automobiles Alpine and in 1952 he scored his first international success with a class victory on the Mille Miglia. It was inevitable that he would look to building his own prototype, although this was still based on the 4CV frame and these cars began to enjoy increasing success and as a result received more and more assistance from Renault itself. The Alpine Renaults of the late 1950s and early 1960s encouraged Renault to look at competition again after years when the company did nothing. In 1964 Alpine turned its attention to Renault-engined single-seater cars for the French Formula 3 series with designer Marce Hubert being helped by consultant engineer Ron Tauranac. That year Henry Grandsire used an Alpine to win the inaugural French F3 Championship and were raced in Formula 2 specification as well. In the early years of its single-seater programmes Alpine was overshadowed by rival Matra but in rallying Alpine went from strength to strength, winning the Monte Carlo Rally in 1971 with Ove Andersson driving. the company also turned its attention to sports car racing although success would also come in Formula 3 with Patrick Depailler winning the French F3 title of 1971. This was followed by the A364 - designed by Andre de Cortanze - with Renault engines designed by Bernard Dudot.

Taken over in 1974 by Renault, Alpine remained operational under Renault management with success in rallying continuing and victory in European Formula 2 Championship with Jean-Pierre Jabouille driving an Elf-badged Alpine car. Renault then commissioned Alpine to design a Formula 1 prototype chassis. De Cortanze built the Alpine A500 which was used to do a lot of Renault's F1 testing in preparation of the company's entry into F1 in 1977. At the end of 1976 the Alpine competition department in Dieppe was closed down and the engineering staff were relocated to the new Renault Sport headquarters at Viry Chatillon. The Alpine name lived on in sportscar racing until 1978 when Jean-Pierre Jaussaud and Didier Pironi won the classic Le Mans 24 Hours but afterwards could only be found in road cars.

Redele's involvement in Formula 1 might seem a little tenuous but without him, the Renault F1 programmes in the 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and in the modern era would never have happened.Ê