Japanese GP: Renault driver preview

Comments from the Renault drivers ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix Jarno Trulli -- Race driver Q: Jarno, Suzuka is well known as one of the drivers' favourite circuits of the year. Is that the same for you? JT: Definitely. It is my favourite...

Comments from the Renault drivers ahead of the Japanese Grand Prix

Jarno Trulli -- Race driver

Q: Jarno, Suzuka is well known as one of the drivers' favourite circuits of the year. Is that the same for you?

JT: Definitely. It is my favourite type of circuit, that's to say somewhere very technical which demands lots from the driver and the car. It has every type of corner, and the car needs a little bit of everything to be competitive there. The most difficult part is the series of `esses' behind the pits, where you need to get the perfect line from start to finish, because how you take each corner dictates the speed you can carry into the next one. It's a big challenge, but one I enjoy a lot.

Q: And how competitive do you hope to be in Japan?

JT:: I think Suzuka will suit the R23B, and certainly we should be even more competitive than at some of the other tracks we have been to recently. Since we introduced the `B' spec at Silverstone, the car has been very strong at every type of circuit, and the characteristics of Suzuka should suit our package. The guys at Viry have worked very hard through the year as well, and that has brought big benefits. We are looking to end the season on a high, and the fantastic Japanese fans will only help that!

Fernando Alonso -- Race driver

Q: Fernando, you have only raced at Suzuka once before, in 2001. How do you remember it?

FA: Suzuka is a fabulous circuit to drive a Formula 1 car on. There have been some changes at 130R which means one of the big challenges is different, but we still have the Esses, as well as almost every other corner around the circuit, to keep us on our toes. In one sense, set-up is simple there: you just need a car that is good at everything. In reality, that means lots of compromises, so we will be working hard in practice to dial in the chassis and tyres. But we will be good there: the circuit should suit us.

Q: In terms of results, things haven't been plain sailing since your win in Hungary. What do you think Japan will hold?

FA:</B> I don't think we will be as strong as in Hungary, but we will definitely be looking for a podium finish. The teams in front of us will be pushing hard, so our job will be even more difficult: two of them are trying to win the Drivers' Championship, and the other is fighting for the Constructors'. Even so, I still have a chance to get fourth in the championship: I missed out at Indy, but we will be fighting with the other top teams in Japan. If I don't get it, it's not a problem: this season has been far beyond what I had hoped for. But it would be fantastic way to round things off, and I will be pushing hard to achieve it.

Allan McNish -- Test driver

Q: Allan, the final Heathrow test session of the year: what will it focus on?

AM: Just as at every circuit this year, we will be concentrating on tyre work, and making the right choice for this track and the prevailing conditions. The circuit is not dirty, because it is used regularly, but the surface is very abrasive. What's more there are lots of long, high-speed corners which place stress on both sides of the car, and particularly at the front: the first turn is a single double-apex corner which loads up the left front, while Spoon puts a lot of energy into the right-front tyre. I think the circuit will suit Michelin: our special relationship with our tyre supplier will be a benefit, with the extra running on Friday, but you can bet your bottom dollar the competition will be fighting just as hard as well, with a championship to win. It will be a fascinating fight.

Q: Suzuka is a circuit where drivers need to get into a good rhythm. For the two race drivers, the two hour session should therefore presumably prove a big benefit?

AM: Definitely, yes. Suzuka is one of the circuits that the drivers need to get to know again each year, but even more than some we have visited, the driver can make a big difference there: a big part of a good lap time is getting into a rhythm with your driving. On top of that, our car is easy to drive, handles well, and the engine has been making good progress recently. I think the Heathrow session will be a big advantage for the whole team.

Q: Finally, this will be your last outing with Renault. Do you have a few words on this occasion?

AM: I have had a very good season, and enjoyed it a lot. The decision to adopt the Heathrow Agreement has worked very well for the team, and I have been pleased with my participation in that. It has been particularly satisfying in the respect that my contribution on Friday and throughout the weekend has had a direct impact on our results: it proved a good showcase for my talents, and the team's results this year speak for themselves. It has been a great experience.


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Allan McNish , Fernando Alonso