The Renault F1 Team prepares for this weekend's inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final race of the 2009 season. Fernando Alonso: "I would love to finish the season on a high" Fernando, sum up your feelings after a short Brazilian Grand ...
The Renault F1 Team prepares for this weekend's inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the final race of the 2009 season.
Fernando Alonso: "I would love to finish the season on a high"
Fernando, sum up your feelings after a short Brazilian Grand Prix...
It was such a disappointment as I think we could have scored some points in the race. I made a good start, but there were a lot of incidents on the first lap, which caught me out as I was hit by [Adrian] Sutil after he collided with [Jarno] Trulli. That was a real shame as I love racing at Interlagos and I was disappointed not to be part of an exciting race on a great circuit.
Are you looking forward to racing in Abu Dhabi for the first time?
I always enjoy the challenge of a new circuit and the track in Abu Dhabi looks very impressive. It will be a new experience for everyone so it's important that we maximise all the sessions and learn as much as we can quickly to try and find an advantage. I think the facility looks amazing and will be great for the people of Abu Dhabi. We went there a few years ago for the street demo and saw how much enthusiasm the fans have for Formula One.
As it's your final race for Renault, will you be aiming to end the relationship on a high?
Absolutely, I would love to finish the season and my Renault career with a great result. It will be an emotional race because I have enjoyed so many special memories with this team and I am leaving behind a lot of friends. Renault is one of the great teams in Formula One and I look forward to fighting with them on the track in the years ahead.
Romain Grosjean: "Abu Dhabi will be a new experience for everyone"
Romain, did you enjoy your first experience of Interlagos?
I thought the track was amazing and very challenging, although with the changeable weather it was difficult to learn the limits of the circuit and find a good set-up. In the race I made a good start, but I had some problems warming up the tyres so I was missing grip in the early laps and lost a lot of places. The car felt better at the end of the race but because of the problems at the start it was too late to recover.
What are you expecting from the Yas Marina circuit?
It will be a new adventure for everyone and I'm very curious to see what it's like as there has been so much expectation for this track. The photos I've seen of the marina look amazing and I'm sure it will be a great way to end the season. The layout looks like fun: it will be quick as there are some long straights and hopefully some overtaking opportunities. I think it will also feel like a street circuit with the big buildings and the yachts in the harbour.
What's your target for the final race of the season?
As it's a new track for all the drivers, things should be easier for me as we all have to learn the circuit. My aim is to try and match Fernando, qualify well and hopefully fight for points in the race.
Bob Bell: "We want to be challenging for the podium this weekend"
Bob, how disappointing was the race in Brazil?
It was very frustrating to lose Fernando from the race through no fault of his own, although we have to be grateful that he didn't have a bigger accident with the Force India. We also have to be grateful that we didn't get incinerated on the pit wall as we felt the heat from the fireball in the pit lane! Romain simply didn't have the pace in the early part of the race as he wasn't happy with the grip of the car, which cost him a lot of ground. So the weekend didn't meet our expectations, especially as we lost our advantage over BMW and we now face an uphill struggle to beat them in the final race.
A new venue awaits Formula One this weekend -- what are you expecting from Abu Dhabi?
I think all the teams enjoy visiting a new country and a new track always has a modern infrastructure with so much space available for the mechanics and engineers. It remains to be seen how good the circuit will be in terms of the action it produces, but from what I've seen so far it seems the organisers have done an excellent job. As a team we enjoy the challenge of a new track and we will be ready to exploit any advantage we can.
What's a realistic target for this weekend?
It would be great to get Romain and Fernando through to Q3 in qualifying so that we have some reasonable starting positions for the race. We want to be challenging for points and even the podium, which is a realistic target considering the performance level we have already demonstrated this season.
Renault says goodbye to Fernando this weekend. How much will the team miss him?
He's made a huge contribution to the team, especially winning two world championships in 2005 and 2006 so he will be missed enormously. It's often said that he is the best driver on the grid and I wouldn't disagree with that so we're understandably sad to see the end of our very successful relationship. But we're also looking forward and we're all delighted to be welcoming Robert Kubica to the team as I believe he will quickly show that he is of the same calibre as Fernando. He's a strong team player, a great motivator and incredibly quick so we have plenty to look forward to as we enter a new era for the team.