Comments from the Renault team ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix Giancarlo Fisichella: "Carry on moving forward" Q: A disappointing race for you at the Nurburgring... GF: We were all quite down on Sunday evening, but since then a lot of ...
Comments from the Renault team ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix
Giancarlo Fisichella: "Carry on moving forward"
Q: A disappointing race for you at the Nurburgring...
GF: We were all quite down on Sunday evening, but since then a lot of work has been done to understand where we went wrong, and to avoid repeating our mistakes. It is in the past now, we have learned what we could from the weekend, and we are now fully-focused on the race ahead. We need to carry on moving forward...
Q: Are you pleased to be back in Budapest this year?
GF: I have always enjoyed this race, I like the track and I have been competitive here in the past. I crashed out of the race last year after making a mistake, but the conditions were very difficult indeed. We are expecting much hotter temperatures this year, which will be a very different challenge!
Q: What is the atmosphere like during the race weekend?
GF:It is always a fun race. We get a big crowd, probably because the race is held during the summer holidays. There is a relaxed atmosphere and lots of spectators in the stands.
Q: How will you plan to approach the weekend?
GF: As at every race, our first meeting will be on Thursday to discuss the technical programme for practice. Friday is the day for race preparation, doing the basic set-up work and then comparing the two types of tyre available during the weekend. Then after the meeting, we will walk the track with our engineers, corner by corner, to see any changes and discuss driving lines. We have well-established working methods.
Q: In terms of the technical preparations, what will you be concentrating on?
GF: Hungary is quite a selective circuit, and the very high temperatures often make things a bit more complicated, especially for the drivers and also the powertrain. To be quick here, you need an effective high downforce set-up, good grip and good traction out of the slow corners. We will be working on those areas as soon as we start running on Friday morning.
Heikki Kovalainen: "Aiming for a solid performance"
Q: Heikki, although we don't test in Hungary, you already know the circuit from GP2. Do you enjoy it?
HK: Yes, it's a fun track to drive. I found out in GP2 how difficult it is to overtake here, and it means that like in Monaco, it is absolutely essential to qualify well for this race. If we can do that, then we will be in a position to run an aggressive race and try to score more points.
Q: Nurburgring was a tough race, do you expect a better result in Hungary?
HK: We will certainly be aiming for that! We did three days of running in Jerez last week to prepare for the hot conditions we expect in Hungary and Turkey, and I think everybody is determined to have a strong race this weekend. There are some more new parts on the car for this race, so I am looking forward to starting our work on Friday.
Q: The races here are often described as being quite boring, but all the drivers seem to enjoy the track. Why?
HK: It is a very demanding track physically for the drivers, because it can be very hot and there are no straights on which you can recover. The corners follow quickly one after the other, the track surface is quite bumpy and you have to maintain concentration over 70 laps. We all enjoy tackling challenges like that, feeling the car on the limit and trying to push a little bit more to go even faster. I think it's a circuit where the drivers can make a real difference, and that probably explains why we all enjoy it!
Q: What areas of the car set-up will you focus on as you prepare for the race?
HK: There are not really any high-speed corners in Hungary. That means our main focus will be on the mechanical balance, and getting the car working on the high downforce levels to make sure we are quick in the slower corners. You also need good braking stability, and good change of direction through the sequence of corners after turn 5. Strong traction is important but this is an area in which the R27 is usually strong. We will need to work hard to get the car working well, but I think we will be able to achieve a good result this weekend. We will certainly be pushing to the maximum!
Pat Symonds: "Approaching Hungary with optimism"
Q: Pat, the team endured a difficult race at the Nurburgring, in changing conditions that usually allow you to excel. What happened?
PS: We made mistakes early in the race, and they cost us a very strong double points finish. It was made all the more frustrating because it was the type of race in which we normally excel. We are good at thinking on our feet and making the right decisions under pressure, but our mistakes seemed to compound themselves in Germany. Since then, we have conducted our usual analysis in even greater detail than normal to ensure we learn everything we can from the experience -- and to make sure our mistakes remain one-offs.
Q: Were there positives that you could take from the weekend?
PS: Absolutely. Look at the calculated risk we took at the end of the race with Heikki. He had to stop once more for fuel on lap 49, and we knew there was rain coming in the next few minutes. We could have sent him back out on dry tyres, and then called him back in two laps later for wets. By doing that, he would definitely have finished outside the points. Instead, we sent him out on a bone dry track on wet tyres, anticipating the rainfall. In the end, it probably came a few minutes later than we would have liked, but it was a bold, brave decision that could have paid off handsomely. As it was, he still managed to score a point. Decisions like that one are certainly something to be proud of.
Q: The team was running new aerodynamic developments in Germany. How did they perform?
PS: Exactly according to our simulations. The major development was a new front wing, which reflected an enormous push from everybody at Enstone to get it ready in time for the race. It performed according to our predictions, which was very encouraging. For other reasons, we didn't take full advantage of the gains it should allow us to make, but we have worked on this point during our testing in Jerez and should be much better-equipped to exploit the wing in Budapest.
Q: It is no consolation for the team, but the European Grand Prix was a great race at the front of the field...
PS: It was a great race for the spectators, without a doubt. The rain introduced the chaos factor that invariably leads to good racing. It jumbled the cars up, putting faster competitors behind slower ones; and it meant that the performance profiles of the cars changed during the race -- Ferrari clearly had the advantage in the dry, whereas Alonso was faster than Massa in the wet. Even under the current regulations, those ingredients combine successfully to produce exciting racing.
Q: Looking ahead to Budapest, what are your expectations?
PS:We go there feeling optimistic. The car was quick in high-downforce trim in Monaco and, since then, we have added performance to it. We experienced problems getting the tyres working properly in the cooler conditions at the Nurburgring, but this is unlikely to be a problem in the high temperatures we usually encounter in Hungary. And while the timesheets placed us 11th and 12th in terms of fastest laps in Germany, I think our pace was actually much better than that suggested: the fact that our strategy was somewhat out of synch with our competitors may have masked some of our pace. Everybody is very focused for the weekend ahead, and determined to demonstrate that although frustrating, the last race was nothing more than an extremely annoying blip in performance.
Over at Red Bull Racing with Fabrice Lom
Q: Fabrice, the Renault-powered Red Bull Racing team had a strong race at the Nurburgring...
Fabrice Lom: Yes, it was a fantastic result for the team. At Magny-Cours and Silverstone, we endured two difficult races, but we knew the potential was in the car. Everybody worked very hard and, at the last race, we got the first rewards for that: not just a podium, but both cars in the points at the chequered flag. We scored ten points, the same number as McLaren and more than Ferrari or BMW. More importantly, though, we scored ten more than Toyota and five more than Williams. In terms of the championship, that made it a very successful weekend.
Q: Looking ahead to this weekend in Budapest, are there any major challenges for the engine?
FL: No, not really. This is a demanding circuit or the car, with lots of bumps, high kerbs and a lot of gearchanges. From the engine's point of view, though, the time spent at full throttle is below average, and there are no particularly severe challenges. The only thing we will have to pay special attention to is the cooling, as we are expecting extremely hot temperatures. We worked on a range of different cooling options and bodywork configurations during our test in Jerez last week. While we are confident about the car's cooling, we will nevertheless be particular special attention to this area.
Q: After your good result at the Nurburgring, do you think you can achieve the same this weekend?
FL: That would be nice! I think we should have a competitive package in Hungary. It is a twisty circuit, but one with few very slow corners; it is more about series of medium-speed corners, and our car seems pretty strong in this area, both in terms of braking and downforce levels at these speeds. If everything goes smoothly then we should be capable of a competitive showing, but as always, we need to wait for the opening sessions on Friday to get a better idea. Certainly, we will be working hard to secure a strong result.