Japanese GP: Renault race notes

Disappointment and delight in equal measure for the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team following the season's final race in Suzuka. After a dramatic race, Jarno Trulli finished fifth having started nineteenth, while Fernando Alonso was forced to retire ...

Disappointment and delight in equal measure for the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team following the season's final race in Suzuka. After a dramatic race, Jarno Trulli finished fifth having started nineteenth, while Fernando Alonso was forced to retire from second position on lap 17 after an engine failure.

After encountering rain during Saturday's second qualifying session, Jarno Trulli was forced to start today's race from nineteenth position. A fantastic start saw him jump to thirteenth by the end of the first lap, and he had climbed as high as ninth by the time of his first stop on lap 11. Running a two-stop strategy, he climbed to fifth position but, after encountering traffic on the out-lap following his second stop, was unable to leapfrog Jenson Button ahead of him in fourth.

Fernando Alonso started today's race from fifth, and jumped into third at the start. After the retirement of Juan Pablo Montoya, he lay second behind eventual winner Rubens Barrichello, and made a longer first pit stop in order to open up the possibility of converting to a two-stop strategy. However, an engine failure ended his hopes of a possible race win on lap 17.

Jarno Trulli , 5th position

"A fantastic race for me: we didn't expect to score points after starting at the back, and if it hadn't been for the traffic after my second stop, I could have finished fourth. I want to thank the team, who gave me a strong car all weekend. The real damage was done on Saturday, when I could have got pole if it hadn't rained. We proved during the race that we were quick enough to fight at the front."

Fernando Alonso , retired, lap 17

"It's a big disappointment to retire: I was fighting for the victory, and we were probably going to make one less stop than Rubens. We have had a great season, but the opportunity was there to win at the last race, and it's not a nice feeling to lose it."

Flavio Briatore , Managing Director

"The results don't show it fully, but the team did a very good job this weekend. Both drivers put in excellent performances, especially Jarno from the back of the grid, and it was frustrating to see Fernando retire. It is a shame to end the season like this, but it has been a fantastic year for Renault and the whole team. The winter will be spent working hard, and we should be even stronger in Melbourne next March."

Pat Symonds , Executive Director of Engineering

"A mixed final race for us. Jarno drove an absolutely superb race today and starting from nineteenth, to finish fifth in a race with few retirements is remarkable; indeed, were it not for bad luck with traffic, it could have been fourth. Fernando's early laps were extremely impressive, and he was able to hold on to Barrichello who we knew was on three stops. We slightly extended the second stint in order to give the possibility of converting to two stops, and beating the Ferrari this way. Unfortunately, an engine problem intervened and didn't allow us to reap the benefits of this. We also congratulate Michael and Ferrari: this has been a fitting end to a great season."

Date:                   Sunday, 12 October, 2003

Weather: Overcast and humid
Temperature: Ambient, 22°C; Track, 25°C

Chassis:
Jarno Trulli R23B-05
Fernando Alonso R23B-06

-renault-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Renault F1 Team