San Marino GP: Renault Saturday qualifying notes

The Renault F1 Team suffered at the hands of the 2006 knockout qualifying system this afternoon in Imola, and Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella will line up 5th and 11th for tomorrow's San Marino Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso completed a ...

The Renault F1 Team suffered at the hands of the 2006 knockout qualifying system this afternoon in Imola, and Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella will line up 5th and 11th for tomorrow's San Marino Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso completed a normal and trouble-free session in the warmest conditions of the weekend, to secure fifth position on the clean side of the grid for tomorrow's race. He is pleased with the balance of the R26 after struggling for grip yesterday, and remains confident that the team's strategy will see him improve his position in the race.

As for Giancarlo Fisichella, he will start eleventh -- and free to determine his fuel load for the first stint -- after being knocked out the second qualifying heat by just hundredths of a second. However, after improving the car's handling relative to yesterday, he will look to make up plenty of positions in the race.

Fernando Alonso, 5th position:

"I don't think fifth is the perfect place to start at this circuit because overtaking is so difficult, but we are not in such a bad position either. There was a lot of traffic during the third part of qualifying and I came quite close to the 110% time on some of the laps, but when I did my timed laps at the end of qualifying, the car felt good and the track was clear."

"The balance is better than it was yesterday and feels correct for the race, so now we need to try and make up positions at the start, and believe in the strategy we have chosen.

"I also wish to clarify comments I made yesterday after they were interpreted in this morning's press. I want to reiterate that I have always enjoyed total technical support from Renault. Renault is known everywhere as a team that treats both of its drivers fairly and equally."

Giancarlo Fisichella, 11th position:

"What can I say? I am very disappointed to only start eleventh at my home race. The balance of the car felt much better than yesterday, so we should have been in the top ten for sure. I think we may have made a mistake in how we managed the second session, because I think we could have run again at the end, but this is something we will learn for the future."

"Looking ahead to tomorrow, we now have a lot of options for our strategy, and we will work tonight to find the best one. The speed and consistency are there to have a good race.

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:

"Giancarlo was very unlucky to be on the wrong end of a big bunch of cars within one tenth of a second in the second knockout session. The eleven millisecond deficit to the competitors in front of him, means we face a very different strategic challenge tomorrow, but it is one that we can rise to."

"As for Fernando, he looks a little further back on the grid than normal. However, we have managed our weekend with our main challengers in mind, and we feel that we have done the right thing to get the best possible result in tomorrow's race.

Denis Chevrier, Head of Trackside Engine Operations:

"After a trouble-free weekend, we fell into the one of the traps of the new qualifying format this afternoon, with Giancarlo failing to proceed into the super-pole session. This is clearly a disappointment, but he now has a lot of strategic options for the race tomorrow."

"Fernando's session ran smoothly, and we have made certain deliberate decisions that will only be proved right or wrong on Sunday evening after the chequered flag has fallen. In terms of the engines, everything ran well, both for Giancarlo's new B spec unit, and Fernando's V8 which is completing its second weekend."

-renault-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Fernando Alonso
Teams Renault F1 Team