Renault team principal Flavio Briatore answers questions on the team's progress so far, the drivers and cost cutting in F1. Q: What is your evaluation of the first half of the season? The objective set by our Chairman at the beginning of the...
Renault team principal Flavio Briatore answers questions on the team's progress so far, the drivers and cost cutting in F1.
Q: What is your evaluation of the first half of the season?
The objective set by our Chairman at the beginning of the season was to finish fourth in the championship. Given how young the team is, I personally found that a bit ambitious but we are currently in fourth position after what has proved a satisfactory start to the year. Having said that, a big gap separates us from the top teams and we will have to work even harder if we are to close it. Renault came back to Formula 1 with the intention of winning, not just to take part. The team is young and we still have a great deal of work to do.
Q: Renault has narrowly missed a podium finish several times this season. Is this the objective for the French Grand Prix?
Of course, I can think of nowhere better for us to score our first podium. The special demands of the circuit should suit our package. We are strong aerodynamically and good in traction terms, the two qualities you need at Magny-Cours.
Q: What has Jarno Trulli brought to the team?
Jarno has brought a great deal of experience to the team. His understanding of technical matters is of an extremely high standard and his technical feedback is very detailed. This has enabled the car to progress. He has also demonstrated on a number of occasions this year that he is very quick.
Q: Button has been competitive with Trulli during testing, and has brought Renault ten of their fourteen points. Under what circumstances might he not stay with the team?
First of all, I want to stress that Jenson has done a very good job this year. I chose him in 2001 because I knew he was a talented driver. As the team progresses, we have to be sure that our drivers match our ambitions. Our choice of drivers is based on the future with a view to finding the best long term solution for Renault.
Q: Is there still a possibility that Button could return to Williams in 2003?
Ask Frank Williams!
Q:Recently, you have taken interest in Sébastien Bourdais. Have his results in F3000 and his recent test with Arrows suprised you?
No, I am not surprised. I have seen too many talented young drivers to be surprised now.
Q: How do you assess the FIA's inability to sanction Ferrari following the Austrian Grand Prix?
Above all, we have to recognize that the FIA effectively sanctioned Ferrari with a fine for failure to respect the podium procedure. However, what I said after Austria was that the show counts as much as the result. We cannot forget about the spectators or, worse still, treat them with disdain. To my mind, the Nürburgring result proves that Ferrari has taken that onboard.
Q: In order to achieve cost reductions, would you prefer to sell parts to other teams or establish common parts for the entire grid?
I would prefer the teams to be able to supply parts to other teams. We produce a great deal and there is scope for economies of scale.
Q: If Arrows or Minardi were to fold, Bernie Ecclesone has spoken of teams running a third car. Are you in favour of this?
Yes. Each team has three drivers who are obliged to be at the track from Thursday to Saturday. Why shouldn't they race? That would enable more nationalities and more talented young drivers to take an interest and become involved. It's a good idea.