Malaysian GP: Renault driver preview

Comments from the Renault drivers ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix Jarno Trulli -- Race Driver Q: Jarno, how pleased were you with the performance in Melbourne? JT: We had a lot of challenges to cope with in Melbourne, but while I think ...

Comments from the Renault drivers ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix

Jarno Trulli -- Race Driver

Q: Jarno, how pleased were you with the performance in Melbourne?

JT: We had a lot of challenges to cope with in Melbourne, but while I think the new rules have certainly changed our approach to race preparation, I think we managed them very well with a good strategy. There was also the extra Friday session: I think that gave us good data to work on, and we had lots of time to try out set-up and strategy options. It definitely helped us for the race.

Q: Melbourne was your first opportunity to drive the full-specification R23 in anger. How did you find it?

JT: We have a very good car aerodynamically, mechanically it's reliable and the engine's low centre of gravity gives us very good traction. Basically it's easier to drive and better-balanced than last year's car, and in the race it was very predictable and consistent throughout.

Q: And what do you expect to be the big challenges in Melbourne?

JT: Malaysia is a very hard race for drivers because of the extremely humid conditions: we need to train in similar conditions and do lots of aerobic exercise, which is what I have been doing since Australia. The circuit is one I enjoy very much because it is so technical. There is a wide variety of high, medium and low speed corners: you could pick out almost any of them as being a big challenge.

Fernando Alonso -- Race Driver

Q: Fernando, Melbourne saw you score your first points in Formula 1 -- what's the next objective?

FA: I am very, very pleased to have scored my first points in Melbourne -- we were very competitive all weekend, and it was a good result for everybody. In terms of the next step, I think we will need to wait a little bit to see how we perform: we were among the top six last weekend, and we need to see if we can continue that through the season.

Q: You ran an aggressive race strategy and took a gamble to start the race on dry tyres: how did it feel to actually be back racing after eighteen months off?

FA: It was a fantastic feeling -- the Team's strategy was excellent and the decision to start on dry tyres was a big advantage. I was really able to fight and race properly: after not competing for so long, it was a new experience for me in Formula 1. And a good one!

Q: With Formula 1 not visiting Spa this season, is Malaysia perhaps one of the best driver's circuits of the year now?

FA: I enjoy Sepang because it is one of the most technical circuits -- now that there is no more Spa, I think that it is one of the three most challenging tracks, with Suzuka and Monaco. The whole lap is very complicated, very technical and demands absolute concentration. A good lap time is always very difficult because there is no one corner that is more important than the others: you can gain, and lose, time everywhere.

Allan McNish -- Test Driver

Q: Allan, Renault was the only 'Heathrow' team to score points in Melbourne. What role do you think the extra running on Friday played in that?

AM: Firstly, I think it is worth pointing out that Renault are the only team that seems to want to take advantage of this session: nobody else is running three cars. In Australia, I think the extra track time removed a lot of potential question marks: we already had a good idea of tyre choice, and what the car was like on the circuit. I think you could particularly see that on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, when Jarno and Fernando seemed to be one step ahead of the game.

Q: And did everything go to plan during the session, or are there areas in which to improve?

AM: We had no problems at all. We got all the answers we wanted from the session, and it also verified our reliability for the rest of the weekend. Obviously, though, different races will see us tweak and improve how we operate on Friday mornings: some circuits will see us focus on performance, others on tyres, others on reliability. We will be able to tune how we work according to what we want to get out of the car for the race.

Q: Although you will only be running for two hours during the Malaysia weekend, the physical demands will still be very high. Do they require any specific preparation?

AM: In terms of overall fitness, no -- we can train our muscles to cope with the demands without too many problems. The real challenge comes in terms of acclimatising to the environment: the heat and humidity is very different to Barcelona in February, or even Melbourne with the conditions we had. For Europeans, and especially a Scot like me, that can take a little while to get used to before you feel completely comfortable!


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