The Australian Grand Prix signalled the start of the 2003 F1 season. With the race taking place over 20,000 km from Enstone and Viry, the first race of the year was an opportunity for the Team to demonstrate their performance on track, but off it...
The Australian Grand Prix signalled the start of the 2003 F1 season. With the race taking place over 20,000 km from Enstone and Viry, the first race of the year was an opportunity for the Team to demonstrate their performance on track, but off it as well. Organising race strategy, running three cars on Friday: the six points won last weekend are down to organisation as much as engineering. It's a skill Pat Symonds recognises.
"The Team had a number of major difficulties to deal with in Melbourne," he explains. "First of all, we had to ensure the R23 was as quick and competitive as possible. Then, it was a question of making the most of the new regulations and not making any mistakes at all. And on top of that, we had to take advantage of the Friday morning testing session, when the Renault F1 Team ran three cars simultaneously."
After the Australian weekend, Pat was pleased with the Team's performance. "Up to and including the weather at the start, it would have been easy to make mistakes, but we didn't fall into any of the potential traps," he continues. "We completed 631km on Friday morning, which equated to two race distances. The data we collected showed us that the decision to opt for the Heathrow Agreement was a good one."
The Team is currently fully focused on the next race in Malaysia. The majority of the race team will remain in the Southern hemisphere before travelling to Sepang. "The chassis equipment was dispatched directly from Melbourne," concludes Pat. "The engines returned to Viry, and we will receive a new batch at the next race. In terms of personnel, only a few team members returned to Europe. Having said that, the design office will be working flat out: last weekend only served to whet our appetite."