Comments from the Renault team ahead of the British Grand Prix Giancarlo Fisichella: "Moving forward all the time" Q: Giancarlo, you started fifth and finished sixth in France. Was that a welcome result after two non-scores in North ...
Comments from the Renault team ahead of the British Grand Prix
Giancarlo Fisichella: "Moving forward all the time"
Q: Giancarlo, you started fifth and finished sixth in France. Was that a welcome result after two non-scores in North America?
GF: Absolutely! It was frustrating not to have been able to keep the BMWs behind, or even to make up positions in the race, but the first priority was to finish. After that, the next positive was that we had the pace to fight very closely with BMW in Magny-Cours. We perhaps made a mistake when it came to our second stint, and certainly we would have preferred to gain ground on our rivals, rather than lose six points. Having said that, though, there are more positives than negatives to take from the weekend.
Q: How so?
GF: Firstly, from qualifying. We got into the top ten quite easily in Q2, and then were able to make it an all-Renault third row. That is so much stronger than where we were even two months ago, and it shows how much hard work is being done back at the factories -- and that we are on the right track. And then in the race, I was able to keep Alonso behind me quite comfortably in the final stint. For me, it shows that the gap to the teams in front is coming down, slowly but surely.
Q: What are your thoughts about Silverstone this weekend?
GF: They are quite positive. Firstly, for the weekend itself: it is another home race for us after Magny-Cours, with all the people from the factory at Enstone coming to support the team. So of course, a good result for them would be special. But also because we have shown in the last few races that we are closing the gap, and we are in the fight. When you are in a situation like that, you want to be racing every weekend, to try and make that little bit more progress. Our fight will be with BMW again, and the target has to be to finish ahead of them.
Q: And what about the circuit?
GF: It's a fantastic track, one of the legendary circuits in Formula 1 and really selective for the cars and the drivers. The fast corners need real commitment, a very good chassis and a stable balance -- which we have now with the R27. It is quite bumpy, and physical with a lot of high g-loads around the lap. A good lap at Silverstone is always satisfying, because the car and the driver both need to be working really well to achieve that. I finished fourth in the last two years, so if we could repeat that result, it would be a great performance for us.
Heikki Kovalainen: "The momentum is building"
Q: Heikki, a frustrating afternoon for you in Magny-Cours...
HK: Yeah, it was. It wasn't a good day but you know, that's racing. Sometimes you hit other cars, sometimes they hit you. Jarno made a mistake, and it cost me the race, but that's just the way it goes. It's ancient history now. I am still feeling positive about the car, my driving and our prospects. It will be nice to be back in action so soon.
Q: What attitude do you approach the Silverstone race with?
HK: We can go there in a good frame of mind. The test two weeks ago went very well, so we have a good baseline set-up for practice on Friday. As always, we will be looking to do the maximum, and I think we have a good opportunity to score points. France was a tough race, but I believe that our basic performance showed that we are gaining momentum all the time, as we improve the car. We are still recovering from the start to the season, and moving forwards. Hopefully that process will continue again this weekend.
Q: Do you expect to be racing with, and beating, BMW?
HK: It's always hard to say before the event but if the trend continues, then they will be the ones we are looking out for. At the moment, it is very difficult to say if we are ahead of them or behind in terms of pure performance, but we are not focusing all our energy on BMW. We have to look beyond them, to McLaren and Ferrari, because we want to beat them too eventually. I know we will get there eventually, and keep on pushing to make sure we do.
Q: You have lived in the UK for many years now. Does that make Silverstone even more special?
HK: Of course. It's an important race for the English side of the team, as all the mechanics have their families there, plus the people from the factory, so we want to do well for them. I have lived in England for a long time now as well, and I have lots of friends there, so it will definitely be a nice weekend.
Q: Your track record here is pretty impressive as well...
HK: I suppose so, yes. I won my first Formula Renault race here, and in 2002 won the Grand Prix support meeting in F3. I had two podiums in GP2 in 2005, but you know, none of that counts for anything in F1. You get results through hard work, and making sure you have the best car possible for every lap of the race. Nothing will come for free just because I have done well here in the past.
Q: And finally, it's a special weekend for Renault as well, celebrating thirty years of F1...
HK: It's a big milestone for Renault, no doubt, but it doesn't change our weekend too much. Scoring a good result means doing the maximum, no matter where it is or what the occasion might be. That's what we will be trying for again this weekend and well, if it is another nice milestone in our recovery, then that's all the better I suppose!
Over at Red Bull Racing... with Fabrice Lom, Principal Engineer, Bull Racing Trackside Engine Support
The engineer in charge of trackside support for the RS27 at Red Bull Racing explains the challenges of Silverstone.
Q: Fabrice, you were disappointed on Sunday evening in France after a tough home race...
Fabrice Lom: It felt like we had raced for nothing in Magny-Cours. We didn't score points, and we weren't on the pace. We are aiming to put that behind us at Silverstone, which is another important event as it is the home race for our partner Red Bull Racing, and they will certainly be looking for a strong performance at this track.
Q: What is the technical approach for the weekend?
FL: It is an important race, one of the historical events on the calendar, and we hope to score some points. Like Spa and Monza, this a demanding engine track because there are some very high-speed sections, such as Becketts, where the car is under very high lateral loads. Those are challenges we have to be ready for. We tested here two weeks ago and made good progress, so we have a good basis to work from on Friday morning.
Q: What are your expectations for the weekend?
FL: Scoring points is always our target. We approach every Grand Prix the same way, trying to do our maximum, and this is a race where we particularly want to succeed. Especially from a personal point of view, I must admit: the team has organised a charity event called 'Wings for Life' for this weekend, and I have the pictures of my children and parents on the rear wing of Webber's car -- so this would be a good time to score lots of points!