Comments from the Renault drivers ahead of the French Grand Prix Fernando Alonso Q: Magny-Cours is the team's home race -- pressure or pleasure? FA: For me, Magny-Cours is a normal race: I don't feel more pressure just because we are racing...
Comments from the Renault drivers ahead of the French Grand Prix
Q: Magny-Cours is the team's home race -- pressure or pleasure?
FA: For me, Magny-Cours is a normal race: I don't feel more pressure just because we are racing in France. But for the team, it is something very special -- we see a lot of Renault fans and supporters, and lots of people from the factories in France and from the team, so it is important for us to be quick and to show them a good performance. When I race for Renault in Magny-Cours, in front of those people, I feel very proud and I want to give a good performance for the team.
Q: In terms of competitiveness, how do you expect things to stack up?
FA: It will be a close fight -- McLaren will be fast, like they are everywhere, but Magny-Cours has been a good circuit for Renault. Last year, I got pole and had a strong battle with Ferrari for the win. This year, we are going there with a better car, and we will expect to be competitive. Will it be enough to win? I don't know. It definitely won't be easy -- I think the battle at the front will be much tougher this year than in 2004.
Q: The circuit is rarely mentioned among the drivers' favourites -- what do you think of it?
FA: There are some parts I really enjoy. There are two high-speed chicanes that are very challenging, and this is the only circuit in the world with chicanes like this where you have to attack them at over 200 kph -- that is a special feeling for the drivers. Then, the last chicane is quite difficult as well -- it is very slow, and the kerbs are high which means you must find exactly the right line or you can possibly damage the car. You have to be careful through there in the race, and I think it is a difficult section for everybody.
Q: After the events of Indianapolis, how eager are you to get back on track in Magny-Cours?
GF: Honestly, I can't wait. I had a great qualifying in Indy, and I could have been very quick in the race I think, so I want to get to France and race -- I have not been on the podium since Melbourne because of different problems, so that will be my aim. Everybody knows that this is a very important race for our team, and we will be concentrating very hard to put in a really strong performance.
Q: What can you tell us about the circuit at Magny-Cours?
GF: It is not one of my favourites, but there is a good mix of corners and some good challenges for the drivers. We have some slow speed corners, where you need good mechanical grip and traction; two or three very slow hairpins; and also some high speed corners like turn 3, where a good exit can give you the speed to overtake down the back straight. The car needs very good traction -- and lots of downforce.
Q: What are your expectations for this race?
GF: I am very optimistic -- our car will be good there. I think we have a good, realistic chance in Magny-Cours. It is hard to say exactly how we will stand compared to our rivals -- the balance of speed has been different at each of the last four races between us, McLaren, Ferrari and even Williams. I think we are all expecting a big battle at the front but from my point a view, I want a clean race weekend, to finish the race and to be on the podium.