The Renault F1 Team drivers preview the 2005 Belgian GP. Fernando Alonso: Q: Fernando, tell us about Spa... FA: Spa is my favourite place to drive an F1 car. You can't say one corner is better than the others because I enjoy the whole lap --...
The Renault F1 Team drivers preview the 2005 Belgian GP.
Q: Fernando, tell us about Spa...
FA: Spa is my favourite place to drive an F1 car. You can't say one corner is better than the others because I enjoy the whole lap -- people know Eau Rouge best, but the entire place is fantastic in a Formula 1 car. It is a long lap, so you see a good difference between a good and bad car; between a good and bad engine; and also between good and bad drivers.
Q: In what ways is it demanding for the car?
FA: I think it is a very hard track for the engines, and we use it for some simulations on the dyno because it is so difficult -- there is the compression in Eau Rouge, and you need good power for the long uphill straights. At some circuits, it is hard to feel a power gain, but you definitely can at Spa. After using the engine in Monza, we will have to keep it safe in practice so that we are still in a strong position on Sunday.
Q: What about Spa? People say you could win the championship there...
FA: It is a circuit with good memories for me -- I won my first F3000 race there in 2000, and even last year I was in the lead when I retired. People will talk about winning the championship there, and I will try to do it if I can. But any of the races are good for it: Brazil, Japan or China. It doesn't matter to me. I will be going to Belgium aiming to win -- and we will see how the weekend develops from there.
Q: Giancarlo, the last time you raced at Spa with the team, you were on the podium (in 2001). How are you feeling ahead of the race this year?
GF: I am really excited about going to Spa, especially with this car. Spa is the best circuit for all the drivers I think, we love it. There are some amazing sensations, especially through Eau Rouge where you have the compression and then the steep uphill section. In the last couple of years it was taken flat, and it is a fantastic sensation -- but hard to explain. It is totally different to how we normally feel in the car.
Q: It is also a circuit that produces good racing...
GF: Yes, for sure. There are a couple of good overtaking spots -- one on the straight after Eau Rouge if you have good speed through the Raidillon, and then also just before the Bus Stop chicane, where you can get past people under braking.
It is just a great circuit, and we always seem to have good racing there. Plus there is the first corner at the start -- 60 kph in first gear with twenty cars. Everybody gets funnelled down, and you have to be really careful there so you don't ruin your race at the start.
Q: How do you expect to perform there?
GF: I think it will be a very good circuit for us -- we have a powerful engine, and the car is very quick and has a good balance, which means Fernando and I will really be able to attack the fast corners. But we know that McLaren are faster than us, and that this circuit will suit their package as well.
So we need to see what happens, and the weather can always play a big role too. The constructors' championship is still very close, and I need to get as many points as possible for myself in the drivers' championship, and also for the team.