The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team's Managing Director, Flavio Briatore, knows that the objectives which have been set for the 2003 season are ambitious. Nevertheless, they will have to be met if the Team wants to be competing for victory by ...
The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team's Managing Director, Flavio Briatore, knows that the objectives which have been set for the 2003 season are ambitious. Nevertheless, they will have to be met if the Team wants to be competing for victory by 2004. Renault F1 is a determined place ahead of Melbourne.
Q: Flavio, what were you feeling as the R23 was unveiled last week?
This car represents so much effort from our entire team that I couldn't help feeling proud as the car was launched. For me, it's also a car I know well: the first designs began more than a year ago.
An F1 car is a very complex machine, and you need to completely understand it before you can get the maximum performance. Having said that, the fact that we have had a hybrid car since the end of 2002 has meant we have made progress in a lot of areas, such as reliability. The time to start talking about performance will be at the end of February, when the car runs with its Melbourne bodywork for the first time.
Q: Do you think the targets for this season are ambitious?
They are, but we're not in F1 just to have fun. Having achieved the objectives we set last year, it would be normal to make another step forward this season. Our reward should be that we will be in a position to score podium finishes.
Q: You have decided to opt for Friday testing. Is that a risky decision?
Who, at the minute, can safely say they know exactly what the advantages or disadvantages will be? We examined, at length, what this solution could bring to our team, and we made our choice. Only the future will tell if it was the right one.
Q: A quick word on the drivers. Jarno is now an experienced driver: are you expecting a lot of him?
Definitely. Jarno is stronger than ever: he had a difficult season in 2002 through his problems with reliability, but showed his speed in qualifying, when he put in some exceptional performances. I think that the new format will be good for him in 2003, but that's not all. With the experience he has gained in the last six seasons, Jarno will be able to get 100% out of the package available. It's up to us to give him a competitive car.
Q: And what about Fernando?
We decided to go for Fernando because we think he has something special. He already knows the circuits after his year at Minardi in 2001, but I also think the two extra hours on Friday will make it easier for him to get back into the swing of things. I don't think he'll need too long to get to grips with the Team and start performing.
Q: As for Flavio Briatore: is he as motivated as ever?
Once you have been bitten by F1, it's hard to go without it. I'm somebody who enjoys challenges: when I make a commitment, I like to keep my word. I expressed the wish to take the Renault F1 Team to the world title, and I intend to get there. For the minute, we are on schedule; now let's wait for Melbourne to see what the coming season brings. At this point, we are pretty confident.