Canadian GP: Renault technical preview

Comments from the Renault technical team ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix Mike Gascoyne - Technical Director Q: Did the new aerodynamics package you used at Monaco meet your expectations? Are you intending to use this again in Canada, or ...

Comments from the Renault technical team ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix

Mike Gascoyne - Technical Director

Q: Did the new aerodynamics package you used at Monaco meet your expectations? Are you intending to use this again in Canada, or another type of package?

Mike Gascoyne Yes, the aerodynamic package we used at the Monaco Grand Prix met our expectations and proved very effective. That said, Canada requires a lower level of downforce, so the car will have a different package.

Q: What characteristics will the R23 need to perform well on this circuit? And given the qualities of the car, how competitive do you think the R23 will be?

MG: I'd say Montreal is a 'stop-start' track that's very heavy on the brakes, and one where you need a lot of grip and all round balance. To race here you need an engine with the right amount of power, and a fairly low level of downforce. We need to take off downforce so the car can reach the high speeds on the straights, but not so much as to penalise ourselves in the corners. Montreal has a lot in common with Imola, where we were not very competitive, so wemre expecting the same on this circuit. But we should be able to find a good aerodynamic set up that'll allow us to fight with our immediate rivals. It'll be harder to get on the podium here than elsewhere, but we nevertheless think we'll have what it takes to get a good result.

Q: You were testing last week at Silverstone. What was on the agenda?

MG: Unfortunately, the poor weather conditions at Silverstone meant we could only complete one day of running. This unforeseen change in the programme forced us to focus our work on the Thursday. We concentrated on tyre testing ahead of the next two Grands Prix, plus worked on set-ups for the British Grand Prix. On the whole, despite the surprises, the team made good progress and the data we gathered will be very useful when it comes to making the finishing touches to our preparations for the Canadian Grand Prix.

Pat Symonds - Executive Director of Engineering

Q: From Monaco we head to another street circuit, only Montreal is a lot faster. What areas of the car are under the most stress at this track?

Pat Symonds: Montreal is a street circuit, like Monaco, which means we'll be racing on a very dirty track, but that's where the similarities between the two circuits end. In fact, Monaco is very slow and very narrow, whereas Montreal is much more open with long straights for which you need very little down-force. But in terms of what's required of the cars, there are some similarities. You need a car with good braking, good traction and good balance in order to tackle the little slow turns that are a feature of the track.

Q: How would you sum up the weekend at Monaco?

PS: Monaco was disappointing for us, even though both our cars finished in the points. At the end of the weekend we found ourselves in a position which basically didn't match our expectations. The reasons behind this 'failure' are quite complex. The Williams and McLarens were more competitive than our cars, so we need to work hard to make up the ground and Montreal isn't going to make the task any easier. You have to accelerate hard out of the chicanes, and despite the improvements we made in Austria, this is still an area where we have work to do.

Q: Last year the manufacturers were using much softer tyres on this circuit. What will be your choice for this year, and what influence do the tyres have on the car's overall performance?

PS: Montreal is a pretty easy circuit in terms of tyre choice. Most of the work required of the tyres is under acceleration, so you need to fit tyres that are stable at the front and which can support the stresses caused by the hard acceleration. Also, in most of the chicanes the drivers have to watch the power in the middle then accelerate fast in the second section, which means the wheels alone aren't enough to get the car around, and instead the driver has to steer the car on the throttle. In the end, wemll be using a similar type of tyre in Canada as we used in Monaco.

An engineer's view:
Montreal is an interesting circuit that has a series of chicanes and long straights, where the fastest corner is taken at medium speed. Besides that, you have to perform well at the end of the straights going into and coming out of the corners. This is where the brakes and drive come in and play a key role.

Montreal is one of the most demanding circuits for the brakes, but not one with tricky corners, because they're all pretty much alike. Nevertheless, the driver has to set up the car so it works well in all these turns. For the drivers, only the last chicane is a major challenge, because you approach it at quite high speeds then go into the turn blind. It's not a corner that makes or breaks your lap time, but it's very unforgiving of the slightest mistake and can easily put paid to a driver's race. As for the tyres, they're very important.

The acceleration and braking give them a tough ride and can damage them, while at the same time you need them to grip well. Finally, the last thing you have to take into consideration is the set up, which has to account for the performance and wear of the tyres during the race. To sum up, it's a challenging but pleasant circuit, both for the drivers and the engineers.


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mike Gascoyne
Teams McLaren , Williams