The Indy weekend has been a tough one for Renault. Executive director of engineering Pat Symonds explains the difficulties so far. Q: Pat, you had a disrupted Friday, and then a disappointing Saturday: can you tell us a little about it? Pat ...
The Indy weekend has been a tough one for Renault. Executive director of engineering Pat Symonds explains the difficulties so far.
Q: Pat, you had a disrupted Friday, and then a disappointing Saturday: can you tell us a little about it?
Pat Symonds: Certainly we have had a mixed weekend. On the positive side, we have chipped away at the balance of the cars after a very tricky start to the weekend, and we are now reasonably happy with our situation for the race. Jarno obviously had a very disappointing result in qualifying owing to a steering wheel problem. But while Fernando's position is not great at first sight, it is by no means a disaster.
Q: Looking at Jarno's problem, can you confirm what happened?
PS: It was actually a frustratingly trivial thing: it appears that when the steering wheel was fitted, a minute sliver of metal shaved off the quick-release mechanism, and shorted out the electrical pin in the connector, which controls the downshifts. Consequently, the car was practically undriveable for Jarno as it was making random gear selections out on the circuit.
Q: What about Fernando's lap -- you said things were not quite what they seem...
PS: Well, you only have to look at the lap-times to see that the gap from fifth to ninth is twelve hundredths of a second. Fernando was unlucky to be at the back of the group but we are happy with the car set-up, although he still had some understeer in qualifying, and very pleased with the tyre performance. We will hope to make our normal good start, and then see how his race pans out.
Q: Finally, let's talk about strategy: last weekend in Montreal we saw the front-runners take different options. Will it be the same in Indy?
PS: I think we can expect a mixture again, although we obviously cannot know who will be doing what. This circuit is very hard on rear tyres, and so those cars that are also hard on their rears may decide to opt for a three-stopper, while other teams with lower degradation may choose two. With that in mind, I think we can probably expect the first stops to come within quite a wide range, perhaps as early as lap 14 or 15 and probably as late as the early to mid twenties.