Comments from the Renault drivers ahead of the US Grand Prix Fernando Alonso: Q: Fernando, what are your feelings on returning to Indianapolis? FA: I am excited to be going back. The fans we see there are really passionate about Formula 1 --...
Comments from the Renault drivers ahead of the US Grand Prix
Q: Fernando, what are your feelings on returning to Indianapolis?
FA: I am excited to be going back. The fans we see there are really passionate about Formula 1 -- they are real motorsport fans and really interested in everything that is going on. The atmosphere in the paddock, in the pit-lane and around the track is fantastic thanks to them, so I am looking forward to racing there again.
Q: Are you apprehensive about returning to Indy after last year's events?
FA: This year, it is very important for Formula 1 to have a normal race in Indy. We have a great opportunity to put on a good show, and to demonstrate to the American fans that F1 is an interesting type of racing. To help us grow in America, we need to give them some excitement, some overtaking, and a good race.
Q: How easy is overtaking at Indy?
FA: It is a little bit easier than at some other circuits because we have a great passing opportunity into turn 1 if you can slipstream another car on the main straight. Straightline speed is very important at Indy, so we run the car with a low level of downforce like in Montreal. For the infield section, you need good traction, so we concentrate on getting those two very different characteristics from the car.
Q: What will be your aims for the weekend?
FA: I am expecting another really tough battle. It was very close during the race in Montreal between Renault and McLaren, and Kimi put a lot of pressure on me all the way through the first part of the race. I expect it will be similar again this weekend, because we will be running basically the same cars without any developments on them. Depending on the tyre situation, Ferrari will be very competitive too. I have never finished a race in Indy, so this is another place where I really want to get on the podium and add a trophy to my collection!
Q:Giancarlo, Indianapolis is one of the biggest names in world motorsport. What's it like to compete there?
GF: It's fantastic. There is so much history at the Speedway, and you can feel it every time you go there. This is one of the big races of the year for Formula 1, and the circuit has some unique characteristics like the banking, which is very high speed and different to anything else we encounter all year. The fans bring a special atmosphere to the circuit as well, and I think we can have a great weekend in Indy.
Q: The circuit has two very distinct halves -- one that is very high speed, and a tight, twisty infield. How do you find the right set-up for the car?
GF: It's not easy to get the right balance! You have the high speed section where you want low drag to be competitive on the straight and then the infield where, in a perfect world, you would have maximum downforce to be quick. So the important thing is to find a good compromise between the two, which we do by running quite low levels of downforce, and using soft mechanical settings on the car to get the grip at low speed.
Q: How do you expect to perform after last weekend in Montreal?
GF: Canada showed us that we have a very competitive package at these low downforce circuits. We had both cars on the front row in qualifying, and we were able to race at the front on Sunday. I didn't get the result that I wanted after making a mistake at the start of the race, but I am very confident that our car will be able to run at the front again this weekend in Indy. We need to wait and see how the tyre performance compares before we can predict any results. But we know that an aggressive approach is needed to carry on beating Ferrari -- and that is what we will have.