Renault has taken full control of French sports car maker Alpine after buying out the 50% share owned by Malaysian tycoon Tony Fernandes' UK-based Caterham Group.

The 50-50 joint venture was launched amid much fanfare in November 2012 with Renault wanting to relaunch the prestigious Alpine brand to help its move upmarket. But it soon became apparent that the different cultures within Renault and Caterham were making life within the joint venture 'painful' as Fernandes was quoted as saying at the time. The venture fell apart in March this year but Renault continues to supply engines to Caterham's Formula 1 racing team.

Renault, which has not disclosed how much it paid Caterham, says it plans to continue development of a new Alpine sports car due to be launched in 2016.

Caterham says it also plans to continue to develop its own sports car.

Despite the difficulties, the companies have not ruled out further cooperation "in line with each company's strategic policy directions."

Separately, Dieppe-based Alpine - which was founded in 1955 - says that it is stepping up its racing programme this year and will compete in the Le Mans 24-hour race adding that 90% of design specification has been completed for the new 2016 sports car.