The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team are hoping for more points in this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix and Executive Director of Engineering, Pat Symonds believes the R202 will be perfectly suited to continue a string of impressive finishes which sees...
The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team are hoping for more points in this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix and Executive Director of Engineering, Pat Symonds believes the R202 will be perfectly suited to continue a string of impressive finishes which sees the team lying fourth in the World Championship at the start of the European season.
Drivers Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button have run competitively during the first three fly-away races, and Symonds believes that the car's impressive traction will ensure the pair can cope with demands of the 4.933km Imola circuit.
"The 202 is a good all-round car and we now have experience with it on a number of different types of circuit," said Symonds. "It has performed well on all of them, but if there is one area in which we are particularly strong, it is traction, which comes from a combination of the chassis, engine design and traction control. Imola features a lot of acceleration from low speed, so we can be hopeful of points."
Technical Director Mike Gascoyne and his team at the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team's Enstone headquarters have been hard at work on the continuous development programme, and this has once again yielded new parts to further improve the car for the weekend at San Marino.
The car will feature new front wing endplates, and Gascoyne is confident that the reliability and pace shown by the R202 so far this season will continue at Imola.
"Overall the car's reliability is good and we have been running in the points regularly," said Gascoyne. "Given our level of performance, it is slightly disappointing not to have had more points finishes, but I strongly hope we can do so with both cars at Imola.
"The drivers are doing exceptionally well. Jarno has been settling into the team without any problems, and both he and Jenson have qualified and raced strongly. I think they are evenly matched and because of that they are both pushing the team forward in a very productive way."
Gascoyne believes that Michelin are well equipped to cope with the lower temperatures expected at the Imola circuit, and added: "Michelin have made considerable progress during the start of the season and over the last few races. Although I expect it will be slightly more even than the past few races, they will still be very strong."
At Viry-Chatillon, the engine team is also pushing forward in their development cycle. "Imola demands an engine which is strong across the board - in terms of power, fuel consumption and driveability," explained Denis Chevrier, Head of Race Engineering (Engine).
As the first European race, the San Marino Grand Prix often sees manufacturers introduce major new engine developments. However, this won't be the case for the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team. "With the RS22, we decided to introduce small steps race by race," said Chevrier. "This first European race will therefore form part of our incremental programme of development with this engine, both in terms of performance and reliability."
For the team, the return to Europe provides the welcome arrival of the trucks and motorhomes that provide a 'home away from home' for engineers and mechanics alike. And Symonds himself is looking forward to the return of his mobile engineering office.
"The start of the European season means it is the first time we get to work with all the equipment and that affects how we operate," said Symonds. "It is significantly easier. We are well set up to work on the fly-aways, but it is much easier with the trucks at the circuit.
"We can take more equipment and we have one truck dedicated to an engineering office. That allows much better factory communications and a much better working environment, because you don't have an engine starting up in your ear every five minutes!"