Qualifying was slightly disappointing for the Renault F1 Team: although Jarno Trulli took an excellent fourth place, the team had hoped for more with Fernando Alonso. Even so, hopes remain high for a good result this afternoon: "We are very...
Qualifying was slightly disappointing for the Renault F1 Team: although Jarno Trulli took an excellent fourth place, the team had hoped for more with Fernando Alonso. Even so, hopes remain high for a good result this afternoon: "We are very pleased with where Jarno qualified," said Flavio Briatore. "He will have a good opportunity to race strongly at the front of the field. Unfortunately, Fernando wasn't able to join him nearer the front yesterday: a small technical problem on the car was enough to move him down a number of places in such a close grid."
The team has been strong all weekend, and Flavio believes race conditions should prove just as favourable as single-lap qualifying on Saturday: "We are pleased with the cars, not just in their qualifying configuration. Our running during the weekend has shown us we have a very strong race package."
Hockenheim has basked in sweltering temperatures since Thursday, and this will be a crucial factor, for the tyres and the cars. "Our main concern here has to be the very high temperatures," continued Flavio. "Looking at the temperature gradient already today, we will not be surprised to see air temperatures as high as 35°C and, under such strong sun, the tracks could be well over 40°C."
The temperature factor, though, is one that everybody will have to cope with, and relatively, this could benefit Renault. "There will be a big strain on the tyres, but we hope our car, being light on its tyres, may suffer a bit less than the others. It will be down to the drivers not just to race hard, but also to look after the tyres, as well as engine temperatures which might also be high."
And how does Flavio expect the race to unfold? "Once again, we will see a mix of two and three-stop strategies. While two may be better on paper, some cars which are hard on their tyres may be forced into stopping three times. We can expect the first cars in as early as lap 10 of 11, but will probably see the big rush to the pits occur around laps 14 and 15."
As for the competition? "I think it will be interesting to see how Michael copes from his slightly lowly grid position, and whether his team-mate's strategy will be aimed at helping him. The harder rival tyre looks very consistent on a long run, and I would expect Michael to be very strong after about five laps of each stint. From our point of view, we are still very confident of a strong result, and are looking forward to a return to the podium."