Renault's technical director Bob Bell and head of engine operations Denis Chevrier discuss the French Grand Prix Q: Bob, what was the French Grand Prix like from your seat? Bob Bell: It was a great race. We won it as we should have done: pole...
Renault's technical director Bob Bell and head of engine operations Denis Chevrier discuss the French Grand Prix
Q: Bob, what was the French Grand Prix like from your seat?
Bob Bell: It was a great race. We won it as we should have done: pole position with a heavy fuel load, Fernando out in front on his own. We really wanted to win in Magny-Cours, in front of all the supporters, and the fact that the new Renault President Carlos Ghosn was present too was also a source of satisfaction. There were plenty of reason to be pleased!
Q: What were they?
Bob Bell: Firstly, both cars made it to the finish without technical problems, and that's encouraging. Secondly, we bounced back after two consecutive weekends when we failed to score any points, so we needed that success. It was also a good way for Michelin to get back into the groove after the problems in the US. And finally, everybody at Enstone and Viry has been working extremely hard for weeks. The win is great reward for them.
Q: This race marked the halfway point of the season -- how different is the R25 to when it raced in Melbourne?
Bob Bell: We have introduced major chassis and engine evolutions in the first ten races. The car's efficiency is much greater than in Australia. And we're not slacking off: we have a very aggressive development in place. We're still putting ourselves under a lot of pressure.
Q: Have you been surprised by the team's competitiveness this year?
Bob Bell: Yes, but that shouldn't mean we lose focus. We need to finish the job rather than saying to ourselves we have already hit our targets. Monaco and Montreal should have been good races for us, and weren't: that should be a lesson for us. We can never take anything for granted.
Q: Finally, is the chase for the title in 2005 delaying design of the 2006 car?
Bob Bell: No. We are managing the two programmes in parallel. Of course, it's not an easy thing to do, but the answer is to work even harder. There's no secret to it!
Q: Denis, give us your view of the French GP...
Denis Chevrier: It was an almost perfect weekend. On the mechanical side, we had no problems. The engines ran perfectly -- the small comfort zone we had after not running the race in Indy gave us extra confidence. We are now using the engine as a tool for maximising performance, not limiting it. Yesterday showed that, but we are not relaxing: we need to carry on fighting.
Q: Renault has already won at Magny-Cours, but never as an engine and chassis builder...
Denis Chevrier: That's true. I have good memories from winning here when we were an engine supplier -- we won in 1991, 92, 93, 94, 95 and 96! The first of those wins was very emotional: the first time in Nevers, on our road to a world championship bid... The French GP is always symbolic: it is run at the halfway point of the season in July. Every victory is fantastic, but some taste a little sweeter. Yesterday's was certainly one of those.
Q: What are the sources of satisfaction from the win?
Denis Chevrier: Winning in France with a French car is a special feeling. But that's not the most important thing. Above all, I think we have come out of a difficult period -- a difficult weekend in America, and a double retirement in Montreal. This win means we are back on track, and puts us in a good state of mind for the weeks ahead. It's very positive.