Renault F1 Team drivers Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button are aiming for a competitive performance as the Team competes in its first home Grand Prix since Renault's full works return to Formula 1. For Trulli, who celebrated his 28th birthday last...
Renault F1 Team drivers Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button are aiming for a competitive performance as the Team competes in its first home Grand Prix since Renault's full works return to Formula 1.
For Trulli, who celebrated his 28th birthday last Saturday, this weekend's race at Magny-Cours will represent a high point of the 2002 season.
"I am very excited to be racing for Renault in the French Grand Prix. It feels a bit like a home race for me, too, because I have raced there a lot, and having spent a few seasons in another French team, I have lots of supporters there. I am definitely looking forward to this race and it would be great to do well at home. I am feeling confident and although there is a little more pressure, I am sure we can deal with it."
Button spent last weekend entertaining the crowds at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, experiencing a century's evolution in racing technology as he hopped between Renault's 1902 Paris-Vienna winner and this season's R202. In spite of having failed to score points at his home race last time out, Jenson is relishing the challenge of Magny-Cours.
"The track has lots of characteristics similar to Silverstone and our ultimate pace there was good, in spite of what happened in the race," said Button. "It is obviously important for everyone in the team to do well in France. It would be nice to pull out something special for Renault at their home race, but we will wait and see when we get to the circuit."
"In my first year of Formula One, the race was pretty good. We didn't score points but team tactics didn't help. I have pretty much blanked out 2001 and am looking for a much more competitive 2002! It is a good racing circuit, and there is a good spot to overtake as you go up to the Adelaide hairpin.
"I like the chicanes. The quick changes of direction that unsettle the car are exciting. Through the long right-hander at Turn 2 you have understeer on the entrance as you turn in and that either carries on or the car becomes twitchy at the rear."
With its many different types of corners, Magny-Cours is a circuit that both drivers enjoy for it rewards those with strong technical input and a smooth but aggressive style behind the wheel.
As Trulli explains: "You need a car with a good front end and rear stability under braking, plus lots of traction out of the slow corners. All those demands will suit our car, so I think we should put in a good performance.
"I've spent a lot of time at this circuit, and it definitely gives an advantage in getting the right set-up and technique. The S-bends after the Adelaide hairpin and prior to the right-hander, Château d'Eau, with the elevation change, are really good."
Trulli believes that despite both his and Button's failure to score points at Silverstone, a good performance in the British Grand Prix showed that new developments on the car have taken the team a step closer to rivals McLaren.
"We had a very competitive qualifying performance at Silverstone, so I hope we are getting closer," he said. "It is difficult to say but the team is certainly improving. McLaren took a big step early on in the season, but we have new aerodynamic parts and engine updates keep coming all the time. We are pushing hard and hope to get as close as possible by the end of the season.