The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team concluded the 2004 season with Fernando Alonso's tenacious fourth place at the Brazilian Grand Prix, while team-mate Jacques Villeneuve finished tenth. The race itself made for an exciting spectacle: rain which had...
The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team concluded the 2004 season with Fernando Alonso's tenacious fourth place at the Brazilian Grand Prix, while team-mate Jacques Villeneuve finished tenth. The race itself made for an exciting spectacle: rain which had been threatening much of the morning began to fall half an hour before the race start.
The team chose to run on dry tyres in the tricky conditions and while the drivers lost a lot of time in the opening laps, Fernando Alonso had taken the lead by lap 7 while Jacques Villeneuve had climbed to seventh. At that point, the team followed its planned two-stop strategy with both cars.
However, Alonso suffered from severe graining at the start of his second stint which led the team to leave the front tyres on for his final stint. Although he subsequently lost more front grip, the Spaniard battled during 20 laps to keep faster competitors behind him.
Jacques Villeneuve got progressively faster throughout the race and his final stint proved very competitive. The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team thus finishes the season in third place in the Constructors' Championship, with 105 points, while Fernando Alonso is fourth in the Drivers' Championship.
Fernando Alonso, 4th position:
"The choice to start on dry tyres was really a big risk: the car was very hard to drive and I went off on the formation lap and the first lap! However, it gradually got better and I managed to take the lead, but after the first stop, I didn't have the pace to get on the podium. The car was understeering badly because of the graining during the second stint then we took a risk in leaving the tyres on."
"This meant I ultimately lost more grip but in spite of the problems, I attacked 100% all the way through, kept the other cars behind and thanks to that, I am fourth in the drivers' championship. That was my main goal today and I am delighted to have achieved it."
Jacques Villeneuve, 10th position:
"I think my race pace was actually very good today. I was behind Fernando in the first laps and it would have been too much of a risk to try overtaking in the conditions. I lost time when the track was wet but after that, I feel we were quite quick in the second and third stints. I didn't manage to score any points at Renault but I think my performances got better and better with each race. It was very tough to adapt but I want to thank Renault for the opportunity they gave me."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director:
"This is a good result: Fernando's fourth place confirms our third position in the constructors' championship and also allows him to take fourth in the drivers' standings. Jacques also did a solid job and I don't think his final position reflects his true pace. We are pleased to finish the season having met our objectives, which were to be in the top three at the end of the year, and Fernando's tenacity during the race reflects the commitment with which the entire team has worked right up to the final race."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"It was a pleasure to see the season end with such an exciting race. The tyre choice at the start was extremely difficult and much more so than usual in those kinds of conditions, because the circuit seemed very slippery indeed. However, we got it right and that helped our race. Fernando's excursion on the opening lap hindered him but he drove exceptionally to take the lead in very tricky conditions."
"He was slowed by severe graining during his second stint so we decided not to change his front tyres at the second stop. Unfortunately, he lost grip in the final part of the race but his defence of fourth place was masterful. As for Jacques, his speed increased throughout the race and his final stint was extremely competitive. It has been a pleasure to work with him and we wish him well at Sauber."