The Renault F1 Team's President Patrick Faure discussed the announcement that Giancarlo Fisichella has signed to drive for Renault in 2005. Q: Renault has stated its ambition to be fighting for the World Championship in the coming seasons. For...
The Renault F1 Team's President Patrick Faure discussed the announcement that Giancarlo Fisichella has signed to drive for Renault in 2005.
Q: Renault has stated its ambition to be fighting for the World Championship in the coming seasons. For 2005, the decision has been taken to change the driver line-up. Why?
Patrick Faure: Firstly, I would like to stress that this decision was not taken lightly. But Jarno has come to the end of his contract with the team, and we have already said that we want to be fighting for the championship in 2005 and 2006. In this light, we have taken the decision to recruit Giancarlo Fisichella. Partly, this is because change can help a team: it will help keep us sharp and aggressive, and avoid falling into comfortable routines. However, it is also because Giancarlo has shown a very impressive attacking approach in recent seasons. We believe he will complement Fernando well in our challenge for the constructors' championship.
Q: You have already mentioned Giancarlo's attacking approach: what other qualities led you to recruit him?
Patrick Faure: He has regularly surprised us with the quality of his performances, and his recent drives in particular have been very impressive. Furthermore, his approach to the sport has matured and he has made real progress since we last worked with him. Giancarlo will provide us with a very competitive blend of aggression, consistency and hard work.
Q: Jarno is the only man other than Michael Schumacher to have won a Grand Prix this season. In that light, it seems strange that he will be leaving the team...
Patrick Faure: Ultimately, the only judge of our decision will be the results next year. We weighed up all the options, and went into a lot of detail, looking at lap-times in the races, in qualifying and many other factors. We have evaluated a lot of different opinions within the team, and then we made our decision. However, it is not because Jarno is leaving the team that we will not pay tribute to what he has achieved with, and for, us. He has done an excellent job for Renault in the past three seasons. It was a hard choice, but it is our job to make those choices.
Q: You have often praised the understanding between Fernando and Jarno: are you not worried about damaging this stability at a critical phase of Renault's F1 programme?
Patrick Faure: That is true, but overall, there was a feeling that perhaps we needed a little more challenge within the team. The harmony between our drivers was an undoubted asset in building the team as we have done over the past three years, but when you are at the top, you need to be more aggressive, we need to see a competitive edge between our drivers. That dynamic helps drive a team forward. Furthermore, I do not believe the harmony of the team will be affected in any major way. Giancarlo knows many people here already, and we have good memories of working with him. It will be a very strong driver pairing.
Q: There has been speculation in the paddock that a financial settlement had to be reached in order to free Giancarlo from his contract: is that the case?
Patrick Faure: Renault did not pay anything to Giancarlo's current employers. They accepted the Renault option without any difficulties.