The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team endured a difficult, disappointing race in this afternoon's Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring, with Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso finishing in ninth and eleventh positions. The team failed to add to...
The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team endured a difficult, disappointing race in this afternoon's Hungarian Grand Prix at the Hungaroring, with Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso finishing in ninth and eleventh positions. The team failed to add to its points total, but nevertheless maintains a twelve point lead over its nearest challenger in the Constructors' Championship.
Giancarlo Fisichella's race was compromised by an incident-filled first lap, on which he lost two positions after running wide in the first turn. He found himself stuck behind the Williams of Nick Heidfeld throughout the first stint, and was therefore unable to capitalise on the early-race pace of the R25.
As the race progressed, the Italian suffered from increasing oversteer which saw him leave the road twice at turn 4 and cost him further time. Subsequently, a fuel pressure irregularity from mid-race eventually led the team to call him in for a splash and dash stop on the final lap in order to ensure he made it to the finish safely.
Fernando Alonso's grand prix was also effectively over on lap one, when Ralf Schumacher chopped the Spaniard on entry to the first corner and knocked off his front wing. The wing detached itself from the car mid-way around the lap, damaging the bodywork as it did so; Alonso subsequently pitted, and then began a drive to ensure the best possible qualifying position at the following race in Turkey.
Concerns with overheating following the damage to the car, as well as a large reduction in downforce, meant his performance was restricted throughout the race, and he benefited from several retirements to climb back to P11.
Giancarlo Fisichella, 9th position:
"It was a very difficult race for us. In hindsight, this was just not our weekend -- the car did not feel good as soon as we ran for the first time on Friday, and in the race I was struggling with oversteer as well as very, very low grip. We made our choice of tyres to try and be strong at the end of the race, but I don't think it worked for us today -- especially because we seemed faster in the early stages, when I was stuck behind Heidfeld."
"The car was tricky to drive from the second stint onwards, and I lost the rear end a couple of times on the entry to the quick turn 4 -- perhaps I could have scored a couple of points without that. Then the engine began losing power because of a problem with the fuel pressure, so they called me in to add some fuel and get to the finish."
Fernando Alonso, 11th position:
"I think I was unlucky today. I was very surprised by how many movements Ralf was making into the first corner, and he just didn't give me any room at all and hit the front wing: I was right up on the kerb, nearly in the grass. When the wing came off, that did quite a lot of damage to the car, so after that I knew I was just racing to get a good qualifying position in Turkey."
"The positive thing to take away was the qualifying performance yesterday, honestly, because without the mistake I was competitive with Montoya on the same fuel load, and much faster than the cars around me. We would have been more competitive in a normal race, so I think we have some reasons to be positive for the races ahead."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director:
"Neither driver managed to have a clean race this afternoon, and both had problems with the car: Fernando was overheating and had some damage after lap one, while Fisico had a fuel pressure problem when he could maybe have caught Sato at the end."
"Obviously, we can't be happy with this result but I think it was a one-off for us, honestly, and we look forward to taking the three week break to come back refreshed in Turkey, and to continue improving the car. Today was just one of those days."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"Giancarlo's race this afternoon was compromised in the first stint when he got stuck behind Heidfeld. He was much quicker but could not get past and unfortunately, the time deficit by the time of his first stop was too big to handle. On top of this, we had to alter his strategy with an additional stop on the final lap when he began losing fuel pressure."
"Fernando was involved in a collision with Ralf Schumacher on the opening lap which not only required a nose change, but the damage sustained by the car after the front wing broke off led us to severely reduce his revs soon afterwards as the temperatures were too high."
"We made a repair to the car on his second visit to the pits, but the data also showed he had lost about 7% of total downforce in the incident -- a significant amount at a circuit where downforce is key. In total, we think these measures were costing around 1.2 seconds a lap."