Recently Renault F1 CEO Patrick Faure and Technical Director of Renault F1 France Jean-Jacques His took part in a webchat for the team. Q: Renault pulled out of F1 then decided to make a comeback. Why did you pull out when Renault was the best...
Recently Renault F1 CEO Patrick Faure and Technical Director of Renault F1 France Jean-Jacques His took part in a webchat for the team.
Q: Renault pulled out of F1 then decided to make a comeback. Why did you pull out when Renault was the best engine supplier by far?
Jean-Jacques His: We stopped competing in 1997 because we didn't have anything left to prove after winning the World Championship title six times. Now we've taken up a new challenge with a 100% Renault team.
Q: Does Renault hope to win the Constructors' World Championship?
Patrick Faure: There's no chance of that this year. Our aim is to rank fourth, in other words to be the lead team behind the "big three".
Q: When will we see a Renault driver on the podium?
J-JH: It's hard to say this year. We came fourth on three counts and we should come third at least once.
Q: Where will the R202 prove a serious contender and where will it be in trouble?
J-JH: The circuits left now are all equally difficult. We're all in the same boat anyway.
Q: Do you think Renault can lead the pack like it did back in the 90s?
PF: It is going to be tough because the competition has got a lot fiercer in recent years. We'd be happy if we secured a World Championship title in the next four years with a 100% Renault car.
Q: Will Fernando Alonso stay with your team next season? How would you feel if he went off to Jaguar?
PF: We hope Fernando will stay with Renault next season. He is an exceptional driver.
Q: There are more and more teams with two really top drivers, rather than driver No. 1 and driver No. 2. Do you think the Constructors' Championship will start becoming more important than the Drivers' Championship? Or will F1 become a team sport?
PF: It is important to have two very good drivers to score points in races. You need two in case the other one has a problem on the track.
Q: What do you think of setting up a championship for top constructors and a championship for "minor" teams?
PF: I think it would be a bad idea. You need to have a good mix of leading global constructors and family teams run by charismatic directors. That is what makes F1 a success.
Q: I've heard rumours that VW and Audi are going to return to F1. What is your view?
PF: I hope they will return one day. The more constructors there are, the more things hot up on the track, especially for the TV audience.
Q: When will we see a French driver?
PF: We'd be delighted to sign up a French driver, but our main priority is to have top-level drivers. In the future, there will be plenty of young French drivers on the up-and-coming and we'd be happy to take them on.
Q: Isn't Renault also meant to be helping young French drivers?
PF: Yes, and we do on several counts. This year, Renault supported the Fédération Française du Sport Automobile (French Motor Sport Federation) in getting Sébastien Bourdais to race. And we made the right decision because he has won two races already, including the Monte-Carlo race.
Q: Why is feedback from the driver so important technically speaking?
J-JH: Things have changed a lot because we can obtain extremely precise data from data acquisition systems. But we still need to back up this technique with feedback from the driver to get a better idea of ease of driving.
Q: Don't you think refuelling stops are detrimental to the racing?
J-JH: Refuelling stops are just one of the many things that teams have to know how to manage. They're not a problem for us. It's a question of working them into the race strategy.
Q: Thank you very much Jean-Jacques His et Patrick Faure. Do you have any closing remarks?
PF: Our aim is to rank fourth in the 2002 World Championships for the first year with our 100% Renault car. We're already in fourth place midway through the season and we have to hold on to this spot.
J-JH: We must never underestimate just how tough the challenge we have set ourselves really is. But there's no reason why we shouldn't achieve our targets.
PF: I'd like to say thank you to everyone. I hope you enjoy the rest of the season.
J-JH: We're going to try and get our blue and yellow team colours closer to the front of the grid.