Renault Monday debrief: Sakhir

The Renault F1 Team took its first victory of the 2006 season yesterday in Bahrain. Here's the latest inside line. One for the boys The final laps in Bahrain on Sunday were nerve-wracking for the Renault F1 Team. Much like last year in Imola,...

The Renault F1 Team took its first victory of the 2006 season yesterday in Bahrain. Here's the latest inside line.

One for the boys

The final laps in Bahrain on Sunday were nerve-wracking for the Renault F1 Team. Much like last year in Imola, when Michael Schumacher hounded Fernando all the way to the chequered flag, we knew that our man was in control of what he was doing -- but the last twenty laps still seemed to take an unusually long time!

As soon as Fernando crossed the line, though, his first words were for the team: "This race is yours," he told the boys (and girls) on the radio. "The pit-stops today were great, absolutely fantastic."

Indeed, the race had been a classic tactical dog-fight between Fernando and Michael Schumacher, and the second pit-stop was crucial moment -- both in the handful of laps before the number 1 Renault stopped when the track was clear, and in the stop itself.

So why was Fernando so eager to thank his mechanics? Well, his car made it out of the pits 1.1 seconds quicker than Schumacher -- which put him in position to take the lead into turn 1. Overall, the Renault spent 52.822 seconds in the pits yesterday, compared to 54.383 for the Ferrari.

The strategy of going for long stints meant there was less fuel to put in the car at the final stop, and some slick work from the mechanics helped win the race. It was a performance that showed the true team nature of Formula 1, and put the Spaniard in pole position for the season.

Determined to bounce back stronger

Giancarlo Fisichella endured a difficult weekend in the number 2 Renault in Bahrain. He suffered a mysterious problem with an ancillary engine component in qualifying, that robbed him of approximately 50 bhp, and in spite of the team's best efforts to resolve this overnight, and the initial belief that it had been cured, the problem recurred in the race.

The performance deficit Fisico had to contend with was clear from the speed traps: he was the second slowest car, at 297.3 kph compared to a quickest speed of 308.3 kph for Fernando. In the circumstances, the Italian did a quite exceptional job to set the lap-times he did, as Pat Symonds made very clear after the race.

"We have apologised to Giancarlo for the engine problem, which left him something like fifty horsepower down from his maximum. But when you take that into account, he was driving an exceptional race."

As for Fisi, he was able to rationalise the experience quite neatly: "Last year, I won the first race then had a difficult season. This year, I hope it will be the other way round -- a bad race then a lot of good results!" Starting with this weekend in Sepang.

-renault-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Michael Schumacher
Teams Ferrari , Renault F1 Team