A satisfying win for Symonds

Pat Symonds, Renault's Engineering Director, was a happy man in the Barcelona paddock yesterday evening. He explains why... Q: Pat, this win seemed to mean a lot to everybody at Renault... Race winner Fernando Alonso celebrates with ...

Pat Symonds, Renault's Engineering Director, was a happy man in the Barcelona paddock yesterday evening. He explains why...

Q: Pat, this win seemed to mean a lot to everybody at Renault...

Race winner Fernando Alonso celebrates with Giancarlo Fisichella and Renault F1 team members.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Pat Symonds: It certainly does. Barcelona is a circuit where we always race well, and we have tested well. But there's a big difference between history or testing, and winning the Grand Prix. We had been beaten twice in a row by Ferrari, so this result really re-establishes things.

Q: The team enjoyed celebrating afterwards in the pit-lane with the fans, too...

PS: Yes, I think Barcelona it is a pretty special place to go racing, when your driver is Fernando Alonso. We had a great welcome from all the supporters, and it meant a lot to the guys, to be able to celebrate along with the fans in the grandstand opposite the garage. It was something unique for the team.

Q: You often say all the races have the same value: ten points. But is there a feeling that this is a bit more significant?

PS: Last year, we learned a lot about the psychology of winning. You get a big boost from success in the opening races, but it is a real sign of strength to be able to raise your game and bounce back from a couple of defeats. A win like this just gives everybody even more self-belief.

Q: Just one week ago, Renault were slower than Ferrari; yesterday they were quicker. What changed?

PS: Well, the car was the same one we raced in Germany, so the obvious answer has to be the tyres, the temperature and the circuit characteristics. Michelin had an excellent level of performance relative to Bridgestone yesterday. The grip was good, the balance was consistent as the tyres wore, and the low degradation meant we were able to win on pure pace.

Q: Yet the other Michelin runners were not in the fight...

PS: That's true. Even when you single out specific factors, you cannot escape the fact that winning is all about a package -- the right car, engine, tyres, drivers. Michelin did a fantastic job for this race, but Renault had the car-engine package to take advantage of that performance. The team has been working hard to develop the chassis and engine, and it is clearly paying off.

Q: Do you think we have seen the pattern for the rest of the season over the past seven days -- with the balance see-sawing between Renault and Ferrari?

PS: Maybe so... I think we can see a battle shaping up, between Renault and Ferrari, and Michelin and Bridgestone. We are not writing anybody else off, but the threat from Honda and McLaren-Mercedes that we keep thinking is imminent, does not seem to be getting any closer. So things may be moving towards a two-horse race... but tyres will be fundamental as to who gets the upper hand.

-renault-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Fernando Alonso
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren