Renault F1 Team Managing Director, Flavio Briatore, gives his impressions on the season so far, the day before the French Grand Prix. Q: The standings currently show Renault second in the world championship. Is that a surprise for you? Flavio...
Renault F1 Team Managing Director, Flavio Briatore, gives his impressions on the season so far, the day before the French Grand Prix.
Q: The standings currently show Renault second in the world championship. Is that a surprise for you?
Flavio Briatore: Yes. Last winter, our aim was to do as good a job as possible, and to close the gap to the top teams. Since Renault came back to F1, we have steadily improved our performance year on year and above all, we wanted to continue this trend. We achieved that. After nine races, the team has already got a victory: indeed, since August 2003, only we and Ferrari have won races.
Q: Will you be able to maintain this position until the end of the year?
FB: It's going to be tough! Anything can still happen, and our competitors are not standing still: BAR have been competitive since the start of the season, McLaren has a new car this weekend and Williams have made substantial revisions to theirs. It will be a tough battle, but if there are no major troubles between now and Sao Paulo, we will finish the year in the top three. That will be mission accomplished for us, but we must work hard to get there.
Q: What does Renault still need in order to beat Ferrari?
FB: Not much, just time. We have the people, the drivers and the means to do it. In terms of budget, it is not the biggest in Formula 1 but in my opinion, it is sufficient to achieve our ambitions. If you gave me ten million dollars tomorrow, the car would not automatically go a second quicker.
Q: Open-mindedness and risk taking - you seem to have a different philosophy to your rivals. Would you agree?
FB: Perhaps. My approach to F1 has always been the same. Perhaps some of our competitors have become too big, and that is not always a good thing. I prefer to create a smaller structure, which is more reactive. However, I don't think we should pay too much attention to the recent poor performances of Williams and McLaren. These two teams can cope with a short, relatively unsuccessful period like this. However, next year will be critical for them, and another disappointing year could leave them very shaken. Over the winter, though, the most impressive job was clearly done by Ferrari. They did not look so dominant in 2003. This year, they are.
Q: You seem to value stability. Does this apply to your drivers as well?
FB: Yes. We should be in a position to announce our 2005 line-up sometime in the next ten days.