Comments from the Renault team ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix Fernando Alonso Q: Prior to going to Malaysia, you have been in the Maldives -- why choose that destination? FA: I wanted to relax after a busy winter, and also prepare for ...
Comments from the Renault team ahead of the Malaysian Grand Prix
Q: Prior to going to Malaysia, you have been in the Maldives -- why choose that destination?
FA: I wanted to relax after a busy winter, and also prepare for the conditions in Malaysia. The Maldives is a good place for that, so I can train in the heat and humidity, and make sure I am ready for Sepang. Also, in a region like the Malidves that was hit by the tsunami, it is important that we can maintain their economies by continuing tourism.
Q: How well do you think the R25 will suit Sepang?
FA: For the drivers, the time when we really feel the difference of the R25 is in high speed corners, so Sepang is obviously one of the races we are looking forward to this year. I love the track, there are lots of long, fast corners and it is a place where you really see the potential of the cars.
In Melbourne, I think the difference between the best and the worst car is quite close, because all you have to do it brake for the slow corners, turn in and get back on the throttle. Sepang is very different, and there is a huge difference from the best to worst cars. I think we will see more of the potential of the R25 in Malaysia.
Q: Giancarlo, one week on from your first win with Renault, how does it feel?
GF: We had a great weekend in Australia, a quick car and some luck too, and the team did a great job in making sure we had no problems at all. But we are all focused on the future now, and looking ahead to the race this weekend in Sepang. We know the weather made the circumstances strange in Melbourne, so we expect other teams like Ferrari and McLaren to be much stronger in Malaysia. But we have a good package, so let's see what happens.
Q: How does the car need to handle to be quick in Malaysia?
GF: Sepang is a circuit which shows if a car is good or not. The long, fast corners mean you need a very stable rear end, and a consistent car balance so that you know the car's reactions through the quick sections. There are some corners where the drivers can really make the difference as well.
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
Q: Pat, first of all, you collected the team's trophy on the podium in Melbourne. How did that feel?
PS: It was a really fantastic feeling to be up on the podium. After twenty-five years in Formula One, I have won a lot of races, but it was a very special moment to look out from the balcony and see the excitement and happiness of the whole team. It was a real sense of accomplishment to be up there as I felt I was there on behalf of the whole team both those at the track and those back at base who had contributed so much to our success that day.
Q: After the result in Melbourne, do you have a clear picture of the balance of power, or are there still questions to be answered?
PS: There are still lots to be answered. As we have seen in the past, Australia was an unusual race, and for one reason or another we did not see the true form of all the teams. We think we know where that form might lie, but we need to see it under clean conditions. Secondly, while the tyre performance in Melbourne was extremely good, all the teams approached the problem with a degree of conservatism. Conditions were cool, and when we get to other tracks, maybe even Sepang, we will see tyre management become a much more important factor, that may further differentiate the teams.
Q: What will be the keys to the race in Malaysia?
PS: Tyres. Their management under extreme conditions will be critical. Equally, we will see the reality of whether the teams have really built two-race engines. Reliability was superb in Australia, but we only ran the engines to half their life -- and failures are much more likely in the second half than the first.
Q: Finally, what are your performance expectations for the team?
PS: We were extremely pleased with Australia. Melbourne was only the fourth circuit at which we have properly run the car but at each one, we have found the set-up sweet spot almost immediately. So we are confident, but as I have said, tyre management and temperatures are now a more fundamental part of Grand Prix racing than ever before, so the picture may change. I think we are close to a number of teams on performance, and it will take very little for the pendulum to swing one way or the other.