After claiming victory in the first two races of the season, Renault is aiming to be at the front of the field again in Bahrain this coming weekend. So far in 2005 the French squad is shaping up to be the team to beat, with Giancarlo Fisichella on...
After claiming victory in the first two races of the season, Renault is aiming to be at the front of the field again in Bahrain this coming weekend. So far in 2005 the French squad is shaping up to be the team to beat, with Giancarlo Fisichella on the top step of the podium in Melbourne and Fernando Alonso taking the honours in Malaysia.
Alonso is confident that the car and tyres are up to the task of Bahrain's challenge. "The team is definitely on a high at the moment so we will go there feeling very optimistic, but it is hard to be certain," said the Spaniard.
"Michelin were very strong in high temperatures at Sepang, and even though the tyre energy is less in Bahrain, the heat will still make it very demanding, so I expect the tyres to be competitive. In terms of car performance, we have been the benchmark at the first two circuits, and I think this can continue in Bahrain -- even though we were not very strong there last year."
Like Sepang, the heat at Sakhir will be a major factor and the circuit is very hard on brakes. "On the technical side, the main area the teams focus on is good braking performance, and managing the brake wear through the race: getting the cooling wrong can be very costly," said Fisichella.
"Sakhir is not really a driver' circuit -- there are none of the high-speed corners that we enjoy, and that really show the difference between the cars. But we need to be precise, to get our braking right lap after lap and maintain concentration throughout the race in very hot, tough conditions."
While Renault is undoubtedly looking good, Alonso is not complacent. The likes of McLaren and Williams will not be idle and Ferrari is introducing the new F2005 in Bahrain. "The big question is over our competitors, because so far, different teams have been our rivals at each race," Alonso commented.
"I still think McLaren are very strong, and Ferrari will have their new car by then, but to be honest, we will not be concentrating on the other teams: we know how we need to approach the weekend, and what areas we must focus on. If we do that well, then I am confident we will be running at the front again."