The Renault F1 Team endured its most difficult race weekend of the season at today's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. The race was run in sweltering conditions, with track temperatures peaking at over 50C -- a factor the team had hoped would work...
The Renault F1 Team endured its most difficult race weekend of the season at today's German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. The race was run in sweltering conditions, with track temperatures peaking at over 50C -- a factor the team had hoped would work in its favour compared to the cooler temperatures encountered in qualifying.
However, this did not prove to be the case and both Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella experienced severe rear tyre blistering at different points in the race, during the first stint for Alonso and the second for Fisichella. In both cases, these problems were encountered at important strategic moments of the race and cost the drivers improved finishing positions.
In spite of the challenges encountered in Germany, the Renault F1 Team maintains its leadership of both championships at the two-thirds stage of the 2006 season. Fernando has scored 100 points and leads Michael Schumacher by 11 points, while team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella is now fourth in the championship on 49 points. In the constructors' battle, the Renault F1 Team has scored 149 points and leads rivals Ferrari by 10 points.
Fernando Alonso, 5th position
"We were not competitive this weekend, but I did the maximum I could and so did the team. I think that without the blistering we experienced, the podium was a possibility for me today -- even from seventh position. I got a good start and passed both Hondas, but the tyres then blistered in the opening stint and I lost too much time to be able to fight for third place."
"Things were much better in the second and third parts of the race, and I was still pushing hard in the final laps when I went off because there was a chance of catching Button. When you look at the level of performance over the weekend, and consider the blistering, then the result is not too bad. But we did not have enough to fight Ferrari here, and that was the problem for us."
"Now, we need to think positive and look to Hungary. The tyres we use there are totally different to what you need for Hockenheim, and I have confidence in Michelin to give us the right products. We need to improve our performance for next week, and fight back strongly."
Giancarlo Fisichella, 6th position:
"Both of the Renaults had the same problem today with tyre blistering, and for me it came in the second stint. After just a few laps, the car had become nearly undriveable. We need to investigate everything to find out why, but we also saw some other Michelin cars that were quicker than us today, and we were missing something in terms of performance all the way through the weekend."
"On the positive side, we stayed reliable, got both cars to the finish and managed to score points on a very tough weekend for us. Now we need to look ahead to Budapest. Everything starts again for us on Friday, and we will be going there hoping to fight for the podium.
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director:
"The important thing after a difficult weekend like this one is to stay calm: we are still leading both championships but we are in a tough fight, as we expected at the start of the season. This was a difficult weekend for the whole team from beginning to end, and Fernando and Giancarlo did a great job to bring the cars home in the points. Now, we need to regroup at Enstone and Viry, analyse with Michelin what happened this weekend, and push hard to get back on top in Budapest."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"It goes without saying that this was an extremely difficult race for us. We have not had the pace we would have wanted all weekend, and the tyre management in the race was even more difficult than anticipated with both drivers experiencing severe blistering at different points. With the next race only one week away, we need to use the coming days to make careful analysis of what has happened this weekend, and do everything in our power to rectify the situation for Hungary."