Comments from the Renault drivers ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix: Jarno Trulli - Race Driver Q: Jarno, how does it feel to be back in Europe after the first three races of the season? JT: It feels good. It is nice to get some time back...
Comments from the Renault drivers ahead of the San Marino Grand Prix:
Jarno Trulli - Race Driver
Q: Jarno, how does it feel to be back in Europe after the first three races of the season?
JT: It feels good. It is nice to get some time back at home and to be able to start training properly again. In terms of results, too, it's good: although I was disappointed with my positions in Malaysia and Brazil, I have scored points in every race so far, compared to last year when I hadn't finished a race by this stage of the season.
Q: What are the challenges of the Imola circuit for a driver?
JT: In terms of set-up, the key things are good speed down the straights and getting a good balance under braking: the car has been good in that area so far this season. From a driver's point of view, the circuit isn't very exciting, but itís always a long, hard race.
Q: This is your first home race of the year: does that make a difference to you?
JT: In terms of driving, no: my approach is the same for every race. Obviously, though, I will have more supporters A lot of people come from my fan club, so we have a fun weekend meeting everybody. Imola will also be special because, although Interlagos was technically my 100th race, that figure includes Malaysia in 1999 when I didnít actually start, so for me, I consider that this weekend will be my hundredth race in Formula 1: I hope we can get a good result to celebrate!
<B>Fernando Alonso</B> - Race Driver
Q: Fernando, how happy were you with the performance of the HANS device in your accident in Brazil?
FA: It's quite hard to say, because the accident was the biggest one of my career, but I am obviously pleased with how it performed. For me, the system isn't at all uncomfortable in the car, and it was definitely an advantage at that moment. With that kind of crash, you usually suffer from neck pains afterwards, and I have had no problems at all. I think that HANS device helped in that, and did a very good job in that particular crash.
Q: Do you enjoy racing at Imola?
FA: I always enjoy coming back to Europe: even though we have had good results so far, I always feel that this is when the Championship really begins, when you see the motorhomes in the paddock and go to circuits where we have raced more. I know Imola very well because I raced there in F3000, and tested there for Minardi. The drivers need to be aggressive and that suits my style: I usually use the kerbs even when I donít have to, so it won't be a problem. I enjoy racing there, and I think we can get a very good result.
Q: Whatís the most challenging part of the circuit?
FA: There are no particular parts of the track which are difficult. The biggest challenge is setting the car up, because we have to use a lot of the kerbs and it can be hard to get the suspension to cope with that. We have a good opportunity though, because the car seems very good in those circumstances.
Following his accident in Brazil, Fernando Alonso underwent a medical evaluation last Friday, after which he was passed fit for the forthcoming San Marino Grand Prix.
<B>Allan McNish</B> - Test Driver
Q: A frustrating weekend for you in Brazil, Allan?
AM: Certainly, yes - with the problem, we missed out on an extra 45 minutes running on a dry circuit so that obviously restricted our programme. Even so, we managed to get a good feeling for a couple of parts of the programme, and some indications of tyre choice, which was something Jarno and Fernando then pursued. The mechanics did an excellent job just to get the car back out so I could do the installation lap before practice. Relatively, I donít think it had a negative effect overall, because it then rained during the afternoon, and we will be back on a good footing in Imola.
Q: What do you need out of the car to run competitively at Imola?
AM: The track is basically a lot of chicanes with long straights in between: the key things are being good over the kerbs and getting good traction. Pretty much everything there is part of the race track, and how you attack it crucial to a good lap time. Suspension set-up is obviously very important and we will look to fine-tune that on Friday; the circuit is also quite undulating, which makes power important for getting up the hills! So far, we have performed at a good level, and Michelin have seemed to have an advantage: there's no reason why we shouldnít be strong, but weíll have to wait and see.
Q: And what does a driver bring to a good lap in San Marino?
AM: For the drivers, aggression is always important, but you also need to be extremely precise with your driving over the kerbs. The driver needs to feel confident about how the car's going to react, and especially needs to know what it will do when it lands off the kerbs: it's a bit like a jockey taking a racehorse over jumps. A good lap will find the right balance between aggression and precision.