As Formula 1 gears up for the first round of the 2001 FIA World Championship in Melbourne, Australia, Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport's two chief technical staff preview the action: Mike Gascoyne, Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport Technical...
As Formula 1 gears up for the first round of the 2001 FIA World Championship in Melbourne, Australia, Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport's two chief technical staff preview the action:
Mike Gascoyne, Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport Technical Director:
"It is always good to get to Melbourne and start the season as everyone has been working so long and hard to get there. Having said that, it is always a struggle to get everything you want done before the cars must be packed and sent off! This year, there have been a lot of changes at Benetton Renault in personnel and resources and as a team we are looking forward to getting stronger and stronger throughout the season.
"Pre-season testing has been somewhat limited due to a decision we made early in the design process to push things back and to have the car come out as late as possible. This gave us time to concentrate on aerodynamic development, but also meant that inevitably some compromises had to be made in the amount of running we have been able to do.
"Overall we are happy with what we have achieved and look forward to seeing the fruits of this in Melbourne. We have made a lot of progress with Michelin in testing so far, but this will be the first opportunity to see how competitive we ultimately are."
Pat Symonds, Mild Seven Benetton Renault Sport Director of Engineering:
"Melbourne is an interesting and challenging circuit with a very smooth surface and relatively low grip - particularly at the start of the weekend. It is quite heavy on brakes and traction is at its premium. Throughout the weekend we can expect grip to pick up rapidly and it is common for the cars to be quicker during the race in the slow corners then they have been in qualifying.
"With the arrival of Michelin this season, the role of the tyres becomes even more interesting. While Michelin are at a disadvantage through lack of experience at the current grand prix circuits, progress through the winter has been very encouraging for the team. In spite of predictions that the competition amongst the tyre manufactures would mean that softer compounds would be used, it is still likely that one-stop strategies will be employed by some teams in Melbourne."