Technical Preview Approaching the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team lies in joint fourth position in the Constructors' Championship, after a disappointing Spanish Grand Prix in which the team failed to score ...
Approaching the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team lies in joint fourth position in the Constructors' Championship, after a disappointing Spanish Grand Prix in which the team failed to score any points.
However, Technical Director Mike Gascoyne remains unperturbed. "Barcelona was disappointing, of course, but our performance throughout the weekend showed that we have the pace to readily deliver fourth place in the championship, and potentially push for third," said Gascoyne.
"If our reliability is good enough to get us to the finish, we are confident it will be in a points-scoring position."
In spite of seeing both cars fail to complete the race in Barcelona, Gascoyne is confident that the team's development programme will solve the problems in the near future.
"The reason for Jenson's retirement was a hydraulic leak on the car. We already had a development in place to cover that particular problem. We also know what Jarno's engine problem was, and are working hard to correct it."
Although the A1-Ring is very different in nature to the more familiar surroundings in Spain, Gascoyne feels the circuit will suit the R202.
"I think we can be confident, as we have been at every track this year. We have performed strongly so far, and I see no reason to expect anything different this weekend."
"The circuit in Austria has a little bit of everything," added Executive Director of Engineering, Pat Symonds. "There are three big stops from over 300km/h right down to second or even first gear, placing a real premium on braking stability and traction out of the slow corners.
"It also has a strange characteristic, in that the track surface seems grow significantly faster during the weekend. It's not through lack of use, like it would be at a street circuit, but we know the times will come down a lot over the weekend."
"Overall, I think the car will be very strong. We have excellent traction, and a good aerodynamic balance for the faster corners," concludes Symonds.
Tyres remain the one big variable, but he is optimistic about their performance.
"The track is quite easy on tyres, which will see us moving back towards the softer range of compounds. We made our choice based on testing last week in Valencia, and I think we have reason to feel confident.
"Given that the circuit has real potential for overtaking, I think we can look forward to an exciting race."