It's been a difficult start to the 2007 season for Renault, the team that has won the constructors' and drivers' titles for the last two years. So far the French squad has scored just nine points from the first three races compared to 42 at the...
It's been a difficult start to the 2007 season for Renault, the team that has won the constructors' and drivers' titles for the last two years. So far the French squad has scored just nine points from the first three races compared to 42 at the same time last season. The R27 is not as competitive as expected and McLaren and Ferrari are already pulling away at the front of the championship standings.
"I have to say that I have mixed feelings," Giancarlo Fisichella told Renault's website about the start of the season. "The car is clearly not performing how we had hoped, so that makes it disappointing because I came into this season believing I had my best chance yet to fight for the title. But that is a fact of life for us at the moment, so the focus at every race, and every test, has to be on getting the maximum from the car -- and performing to our best possible level."
Fisichella, naturally, is not too happy about fighting for points positions rather than podiums -- his best so far in 2007 was fifth in Australia -- but he believes that he is getting the maximum possible out of the car. Making the R27 more competitive is something that will not have a quick solution. "That is what the team is working hard on at the moment -- understanding the problems, and then fixing them, one by one," the Italian commented.
"In Formula One, it is very rare that you find simple solutions, and you need to work through everything in a logical way -- otherwise you end up with more questions than answers. As drivers, we can feel that the car lacks grip, and is inconsistent to drive, but it is then down to the engineers to understand what is causing the problems -- and how to solve them. I was at the factory last week, and I know everybody is working flat out on that process, as well as continuing with the development of the car."
Finding answers may be the job of the engineers rather than the driver but Fisichella feels he can still make a contribution. "I have been in this situation before in my career, and the driver can really make a difference motivating the team. I cannot find the technical solution instead of the engineers, but it is important to lead the team with a good example. They know that when I go out on track, I am pushing the car to the limit and getting everything out of the package; and I know that behind the scenes, everybody from the mechanics to directors are working 100% to improve the car."
It can be hard to understand why a previously successful team can go from the end of one successful season to a poor start at the beginning of the next but it's happened to many. One only has to look at Ferrari's woes of 2005 to see that even multiple champions can get it wrong. Ferrari is back on form and Fisichella believes Renault will also be able to return to strength. "This is a team that is used to winning races, and we are determined to improve the situation," he stated.
"It is also a team of world champions, that has shown they have what it takes to be the very best during the last two years, so I know we have the strength in depth to turn things around. I am confident that we will get to the bottom of our problems, and emerge even stronger. I cannot predict when, that is what we are working on right now. But whatever happens, I will be giving 100% on every lap and driving with maximum motivation. That will not change, whether we are fighting for points or for race wins."