Pat Symonds, the Renault F1 Team's engineering director takes a look at the team's chances for the weekend. Q: Pat, how did practice go for the team? Pat Symonds: The Italian Grand Prix is a bit unusual because we tested here only a week ago....
Pat Symonds, the Renault F1 Team's engineering director takes a look at the team's chances for the weekend.
Q: Pat, how did practice go for the team?
Pat Symonds: The Italian Grand Prix is a bit unusual because we tested here only a week ago. We sometimes test at circuits where we race, like Silverstone or Barcelona, but that's generally more than a month before the race. Last week, we made good progress on our programme but we still had some questions to answer. One was on the tyres, and we got a good answer today.
Q: Fernando said the Michelins were consistent, and also quick on the first lap...
PS: That was the question we were asking ourselves! Bridgestone have had a clear advantage in qualifying in the last races, and Michelin decided to push their development in that direction. We have made a step forward. It is good news, because there was a chance we wouldn't have that performance today.
Q: Ferrari were very quick. Is that a worry for the rest of the weekend?
PS: It wasn't just today, they were impressive during testing as well! And that's not just talking about the headline time, which is fairly irrelevant, but on their long runs too. Michael Schumacher was very quick on the third day. However, we didn't come back from testing thinking that we would be dominated in Italy. On the contrary, we were happy. We knew that we would have a good chance.
Q: So the tyres will be the key factor again...
PS: Exactly. I think Michelin has an even wider range of products available to its partners than usual this weekend. We made a strategic decision for this weekend, and got some encouraging results.
Q: Michael Schumacher is making an important announcement on Sunday evening. Will it affect his performance this weekend?
PS: I don't think so. If he still hadn't made a decision then he might be distracted. But now he knows what the future holds, he can focus on the Grand Prix. I would prefer him to announce... that he still hasn't decided!