|First race||South African Grand Prix||Kyalami||March 4, 1978||Race results|
|Last race||Australian Grand Prix||Adelaide||November 5, 1989||Race results|
One of the fruits of a government-backed scheme to unearth French talent in the 1970s, René did all the right things as he rocketed into Formula One. It was only when he reached the highest echelon that he started to run off the rails. His speed was never in question, simply his application. He beat future Formula One rival Patrick Tambay to take the French Formule Renault title in 1973. An abortive move to the European Formula 5000 Championship in 1974 was followed by a return to the French ladder to stardom in Formule Super Renault in 1975. He duly won the title and progressed to Formula Two in 1976, being pipped to the title in the final round by Jean-Pierre Jabouille. He went one better in 1977. Then came Formula One, albeit with a slow start in 1978 with the fledgling Martini team. It folded mid-season and René had a couple of runs for Surtees. However, it all came right for 1979 and he joined Jabouille in the Renault works team. A brace of wins at the start of 1980 pushed him into the limelight, but his form faded until he won the 1982 French Grand Prix against team orders ahead of team favourite Alain Prost. René moved to Ferrari for 1983, winning three times as he was placed third overall behind Nelson Piquet and Prost. These were to be his last wins, though, and he was shown the door after the first race of 1985. He was back in 1986, this time with Ligier, with whom he raced for four seasons, but produced next to no results after the first of these. Since retiring from Formula One, René has been involved with the extremely successful DAMS (Driot Arnoux Motor Sport) Formula 3000 team.
Reproduced from The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Formula One published by Carlton Books