Comments from the Renault team ahead of the European Grand Prix. Jarno Trulli Q: So Jarno, first pole and first race win in Monaco. What can we expect this weekend? JT: This weekend we start again, it is a new challenge. The circuit ...
Comments from the Renault team ahead of the European Grand Prix.
Q: So Jarno, first pole and first race win in Monaco. What can we expect this weekend?
JT: This weekend we start again, it is a new challenge. The circuit is different, the conditions are different, and we will just work as normal, trying to make the car as fast as possible. We made some improvements to the car before Monaco, but it was difficult to judge them accurately last weekend because it is such a strange circuit. The Nürburgring will give us a much better idea of how much we have improved the car's competitiveness, and so I am looking forward to starting practice.
Q: What have you been doing since Sunday evening in Monaco?
JT: Well, this week has been very busy. On Tuesday I visited a Renault factory at Sandouville in France - it was planned before the win, but it was a fantastic day, everybody was so happy. And then today (Wednesday), I will be at the Lardy safety research centre, again meeting my colleagues in Renault, before going to the final of the Champions League tonight. That should be fun! Then from Thursday, I can concentrate on Formula 1 again. But my approach this weekend will be the same as always: working normally to find a good consistent set-up. Last weekend was fantastic, a sort of confirmation, but I will carry on doing my usual job and trying 100%.
Q: Looking ahead to the Nürburgring, what is your view of the circuit?
JT: To be honest, the Nürburgring is not a particularly technical circuit. I know it well from when I raced there in F3, and before last weekend, I got my best F1 result at the track when I finished second in 1999. The main thing is to find a good rhythm - there are lots of corners close together, and if you get into the right groove then you can be quick. When we are setting the car up, we obviously need to get a good balance as soon as possible, but you also need confidence in the car through the high-speed corners and stability during the heavy braking for Turn 1 and the chicane. Also, the conditions change a lot during the day, from very cool conditions in the morning to quite warm in the afternoon, and you have to take account of that when setting the car up on Saturday morning. Our car was competitive in cooler conditions in Melbourne, so hopefully we can be again.
Q: Fernando, last year you took a race win for the team, and so far this season it is Jarno: what does that make you feel?
FA: Since last year, Jarno and I have often said that the team comes first, and we have proved that on numerous occasions. When I won in Budapest last year, Jarno was one of the first people to congratulate me, and he was genuinely happy for me. Last Sunday, it was the other way round. He completely deserved it.
Q: So this weekend we will arrive at the Nürburgring, and a much more standard circuit than Monaco: what are your thoughts on the German track?
FA: Unlike Monaco, where the driver can make a big difference, the Nürburgring is a track where you can only start to be really quick when you have set the car up and feel comfortable with it - there are not many places where the driver can add something extra. However, we need to work hard with the engineers because it is not easy to get the maximum out of the car there, especially when the weather conditions and temperatures change so much, and you need a consistent car balance in lots of different types of corners: very low speed and also the quick parts. The changes two years ago definitely improved the overtaking opportunities which means you can hope to make up positions during the race.
Q: Finally, the team could have finished one-two in Monaco: what can we hope for this time?
FA: We think the R24 will be competitive at the Nürburgring, and we hope to have a trouble-free weekend so that we can achieve the performances we know we are capable of. I don't know if we can fight for a win again, it will be very tough. But we will be aiming for the podium, definitely, and the cars were very reliable again in Monaco. Everybody is just so motivated right now at Renault, I think there will be a very good spirit in the team this weekend.
Bob Bell, Technical Director (Chassis):
Q: Bob, how good a job did you feel the drivers did last weekend?
BB: I think they both did a superb job to be honest, but Jarno came out on top in the end. He was outstanding in qualifying - once people saw what his fuel load was, that became very clear. Then in the race, he was the best driver out there on the most difficult circuit of the year, resisting constant pressure without making a single mistake, and maintaining his pace in difficult circumstances. This driver pairing is as good as any other in Formula 1.
Q: The R24 is now a race winner, yet the team has not been happy with its performance: does the Monaco result change that?
BB: It is a little early to say. Last year we thought we would do better at Monaco and came away disappointed, whereas this year we exceeded our expectations. Every change we have made so far to the car has been a logical, sensible step but we have not yet done everything that is planned to improve the car's behaviour. We have always said that the potential in the car was there to be unlocked, and Monaco may be an initial sign of that coming to fruition. The Nürburgring is a more standard circuit than Monaco, and will undoubtedly be a truer measure of the progress we have made. It is a much more reliable benchmark for the rest of the season.
Q: Looking ahead to the Nürburgring the following weekend, what challenges do you expect to encounter?
BB: Much like Barcelona, the Nürburgring is a circuit that requires every area of a car to be strong - it doesn't stand out for having any particularities. Our expectations will certainly be those with which we currently go to every race, namely making our usual challenge for podium positions. Indeed, conditions can be cooler than at other races and we saw in Melbourne that our car was strong in lower-than-normal temperatures. I think we are capable of racing very strongly at the Nürburgring.
Rob White, Technical Director (Engine):
Q: The Nürburgring is a much more conventional proposition than Monaco: what are the challenges?
RW: Even if the circuit is unremarkable, the weather can be unpredictable, and the race can present some surprises. The challenge for the Viry and Enstone groups is to work together to achieve a weekend free of incident in which we extract the full performance of the car. With the European season well underway, points must be earned, not taken for granted, and any hiccup will be seized as an opportunity by our competitors. We will approach the Nürburgring race with the same rigour that has served us well to now, and seek to minimise the risk of a slip.