In 1908, while the automobile races are in full swing, René Hanriot wins the World Championship (unofficial) in a Benz of 150 hp. In May he bought one of Léon Levasseur’s Antoinette monoplanes with a 25 hp motor. But by the end of 1908, the monoplane was not yet delivered and René Hanriot lost patience. This was when he decided to make his own machine. In February 1909 he creates the Hanriot Monoplane Corporation with 500,000 Francs capital. A shed was used as a hangar, workshop and office. His son assisted with the building of the aeroplane. In the summer of 1909, the first Hanriot I proudly left the workshop for its first flight. The motor seemed questionable as early as the departure. Hanriot bought a 6-cyl Buchet, that develops 45 hp and weighs 155 kg.
The machine was subsequently displayed at the Salon de la Aeronautique in 1909.
The aircraft, powered by a single, 50-hp Buchet engine, featured an open framework fuselage mated to two rectangular wings of 31.2 feet span.
Its slender lines and good looks instill confidence and Hanriot receives orders for about twenty of his machines, although it did not again fly. In October, the flights to Bétheny and those carried out at Reims by René and Marcel show that the motor is too heavy! The machine is unable to do more than short hops. He looks for another motor. A virtually unknown engineer by the name of Pierre Clerget, from la Maison Clément-Bayard, that he knows from his auto racing days designs a four cylinder in-line engine of 40 hp.
Although Hanriots first airframe had sustained damage during landing, it had nevertheless provided the foundation for a smaller, but similar monoplane which had sported a simple, elegant, aerodynamically-clean configuration when it had appeared in July of 1910.