Another all-Ferrari front row may create expectations of a dull race - not so says Renault's executive director of engineering Pat Symonds. Q: Seventh and seventeenth: not quite what the team had hoped for from qualifying. Pat Symonds: No, not...
Another all-Ferrari front row may create expectations of a dull race - not so says Renault's executive director of engineering Pat Symonds.
Q: Seventh and seventeenth: not quite what the team had hoped for from qualifying.
Pat Symonds: No, not really! It is frustrating once again not to have achieved our full potential in qualifying, but in spite of this, I believe we are in a relatively strong position for the race. We have had no tyre problems whatsoever so far, and while brake wear is severe at this circuit, we are satisfied that we have sufficient margin to complete the race.
Q: We saw Fernando have a problem in qualifying: can you tell us any more about it?
PS: Well, the first thing to stress is that there is no doubt there was some kind of problem with the car, which prevented Fernando from braking as he would have wanted, and caused significant amounts of locking of the front wheels. So far, locating the precise cause has proved problematic, but we have isolated the potential sources within the car, and will be doing what is allowed within the rules in order to correct this.
Q: How about the race? What do you expect to be the key parameters?
PS: To my mind, there is no doubt that the race itself will be all about tyres and brakes. I think it is fair to say that one of the main talking points in the pit-lane today was brake wear, as indeed our simulations had warned us would be the case. In fact, it appears to slightly worse than expected, but on the whole our concerns do not appear to be as serious as those of our competitors. In terms of tyres, we believe that most Michelin runners have opted for the harder option available to them. However, this weekend, for the first time since Hockenheim 2003, some blisters have been evident up and down the paddock. We have not experienced any difficulties in this area, but it could prove a significant factor over a race distance.
Q: In terms of tomorrow's race, how do you expect strategies to play out?
PS: Mathematically, two and three-stop strategies are very similar options at this circuit, but that does not take account of the constraints imposed by tyre and brake wear. I think concerns in these areas are likely to push most of our competitors to a three-stopper. In terms of pit-stop windows, expect to see the first stops between laps 9 and 13, but after that, the tyre and brake situation will largely dictate the options that are taken.
Q: And finally, what character do you think the race will take?
PS: I think we will see the race become more interesting as it unfolds. In the latter stages, we believe people will begin to focus on damage limitation and start nursing both brakes and tyres. Of course, the remaining unknown is how much grip the circuit will pick up, but the more it does so, the more severe the abuse to brakes and tyres will be. From our point of view, although our starting positions are not ideal, we hope to mount a strong challenge until the very end of the race.