Turbo charged engines were allowed within the regulations from as early as 1960. The cost of building one however was extremely high, and so it was only in 1977 that Renault decided to fund the development of their first turbocharged engine.
At first it was hideously unreliable and while it clearly provided a huge performance advantage, the team failed to complete a race in their first season. Slowly though, Renault began to see improvements in results winning their first Grand Prix in France in 1979. By 1983 they were World Championship runners-up with the help of Alain Prost.
Other manufacturers then decided it was necessary to bring in their own turbocharged engines to remain competitive. By 1985, every entered car was powered by a turbo engine until they were outlawed in 1989.