The Renault F1 Team prepares for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at the classic Suzuka circuit. Fernando Alonso: "The team can be very proud of this result" Fernando, you had your first podium finish of the year in Singapore. Talk us...
The Renault F1 Team prepares for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix at the classic Suzuka circuit.
Fernando Alonso: "The team can be very proud of this result"
Fernando, you had your first podium finish of the year in Singapore. Talk us through your emotions after the race...
To finish on the podium was a great feeling. It was the result that we have been pushing for and the team really deserved this because we have been unlucky this year and lost many opportunities. Everybody in the team can be very proud as they did a great job all weekend and this was the perfect moment to get this result. It's a great reward for all the hard work at the track and back in the factories in Enstone and Viry.
We now head to Suzuka in Japan - are you looking forward to going back there for the first time in three years?
Yes, I'm really excited to be returning to this amazing track which is one of my favourites. I have some great memories from Suzuka as I won the race there in 2006, which was a very important result for the championship. Also my battle with Michael Schumacher in 2005 is something that I will always remember. Japan is certainly one of the most enjoyable races of the season because there is a special atmosphere and the fans always show their enthusiasm in a respectful way.
Talk us through the technical challenge of the circuit...
I think all the drivers enjoy the high-speed corners of Suzuka, but it's also a technical track which gives the engineers a big challenge. In terms of set-up, you have to work hard to make sure you have a car with a good front end for the changes of direction, and a stable rear so you have the confidence to attack the high-speed corners. The Esses section is an important part of the lap as you have to cope with fifteen seconds of continuously changing direction, so it's very demanding physically. You also need to keep your concentration as there is only one line through the corners and any mistakes cost you a lot of time.
Romain Grosjean: "Racing at Suzuka will be very special"
Romain, your race in Singapore was short-lived. A disappointing end to a tough weekend for you...
Yes, it was probably the most difficult weekend I can remember in my career. I had to learn the circuit, which was not easy, especially as I had some issues in practice which limited my running. As a result I never really felt confident on this circuit. Then in qualifying I had some braking issues, which we thought we had solved for the race, but in the end the team asked me to retire the car as the brake problems returned. So it was not a weekend to remember for me and I now have to look forward to Japan.
Suzuka will be another new experience for you. Is it a circuit that inspires you?
It's a circuit that I've never been to, but I have always dreamed of racing there as it's one of the special circuits of the world. I have seen the track on television many times so I know the layout and cannot wait to drive the quick corners like 130R.
How are you approaching the end of the season?
All the tracks will be new for me so I know that I have a big challenge ahead. I hope that my luck will change in the races as I have yet to have a normal race without any problems. If I can have some trouble-free races then hopefully I can help the team score some important points, which is what we need for the fight in the constructors' championship.
Bob Bell: "The team heads to Japan in high spirits"
Bob, what does the podium in Singapore mean for the team ahead of this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix?
This result obviously lifts the spirits of the whole team enormously and will be fresh in everyone's mind as we have back-to-back races this weekend. The team will therefore arrive in Japan feeling very upbeat. The race in Japan might not be the easiest for us, but I think the level of motivation will be much higher.
Romain had a tough weekend in Singapore -- can he bounce back in Japan?
I have no doubt that he can bounce back: he is young, very confident and has a lot of ability. The problems he had in Singapore were related to his brakes so we need to make sure that we do all we can in Suzuka to make sure he has no repeat of this. However, we should remember that Suzuka is a very different circuit and I think it will be a lot easier for him there.
Talk us through the technical challenge of this classic circuit...
It's an interesting venue and it's quite challenging for an older circuit. It requires a good balance and a medium to high downforce set-up, but braking performance is less important there, which will assist with the problems Romain had. It has some corners that are very challenging for the drivers that require a lot of commitment and are rewarding to drive. Overall, it's a circuit were we have done well in the past and Fernando particularly likes Suzuka so he will relish the challenge this weekend.