Renault technical director Mike Gascoyne talks about the team's victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix and looks ahead to the next race, and beyond Q: Mike, a fantastic result for the team in Hungary. Does it represent an accomplishment in itself,...
Renault technical director Mike Gascoyne talks about the team's victory at the Hungarian Grand Prix and looks ahead to the next race, and beyond
Q: Mike, a fantastic result for the team in Hungary. Does it represent an accomplishment in itself, or a stepping stone to greater things?
MG: I think we can say it is a very significant milestone for the whole team. To win world championships, first you have to win races. It is only a step on the way to bigger things, but a significant one.
Q: Why was the R23B so quick at the Hungaroring?
MG: We knew from the start of the season that circuits which placed a premium on chassis handling and high downforce would suit our car extremely well: that is why our uncompetitive performance in Monaco was a surprise to us. In Hungary, we demonstrated the true ability of our car. We didn't just win the race, I think we dominated the weekend: our drivers were P1 in every qualifying session, and Fernando won the race from pole, leading practically every lap. Basically, we got everything right.
Q: Certainly, the weekend seemed a combination of having the right car, and making the right choices in terms of strategy?
MG: Exactly. Some people questioned our strategy after qualifying on Saturday evening. The race provided the perfect answer.
Q: And what did you think of Fernando's drive?
MG: Fernando gave the kind of measured performance everybody knew he is capable of. Ahead of the race in Spain, we said that if he could put in a strong drive under that kind of pressure, it would show he was something special. This weekend, he proved that he is a young driver who does not feel pressure, enjoys his job and also happens to possess a supreme talent behind the wheel.
Q: Looking ahead to the next race at Monza, what can we expect?
MG: Monza is almost the opposite type of circuit to the Hungaroring. We are not looking to win, but although it is a track with a lot of very long straights, it also has a number of high speed corners. The car is very strong under braking, we had some significant engine updates in Hungary, and the R23B's aerodynamic strengths have been amply demonstrated this year. In 2002, we had a very good race there. I think some people will be tempted to write us off, but that just creates the perfect conditions for springing a few surprises.
Q: And finally, what about next year? The R24 is already in the windtunnel: are things going well?
MG: If you look at our performance in terms of the targets we have been given by Renault, we have exceeded them each year. This team is going from strength to strength. Currently, we are ahead of schedule on what is a very realistic programme. We made a big step last season, and we hope to do so again.