Renault's Engineering Director Pat Symonds expects a two-stop theme tomorrow. But what might the variations be? Q: Pat, it looked like a pretty good day for Renault overall. Pat Symomds: It certainly was. We had one of those days that Spa is...
Renault's Engineering Director Pat Symonds expects a two-stop theme tomorrow. But what might the variations be?
Q: Pat, it looked like a pretty good day for Renault overall.
Pat Symomds: It certainly was. We had one of those days that Spa is famous for, with practice cut to just thirteen minutes this morning because of the poor weather conditions. That made qualifying into something of a lottery, and it proved significant that Jarno had already got a feel for the intermediate tyres during a couple of laps in the morning session. But certainly, our positions after qualifying are a fantastic result for the whole team.
Q: Both cars were on track at just the right time.
PS: Sure, we undoubtedly had some good fortune in being on track when conditions were at their best. But you also make your own luck, and our decision to run intermediates was a brave one. Fortunately, the results proved us right.
Q: Looking at the numbers from qualifying, the speeds of different cars vary a lot - is that indicative of set-up compromises in downforce levels?
PS: You can never be sure, but the speed trap figures need to be treated with some caution. During practice at this circuit teams concentrate on establishing downforce levels that will allow overtaking, but the wet qualifying may have caused people to change their minds, and we don't yet know whether that is the case. The reason for this is that when the circuit is wet, the speed trap is actually located in a braking zone, which means the recorded speeds are not an accurate indicator of downforce levels. A driver lifting off just a metre or two earlier could account for a large difference in the apparent maximum speeds.
Q: How pleased were you for Jarno to see him score his second pole?
PS: I was very pleased indeed - he has had a lot of bad luck in the last few races, and so it was good to see him demonstrate what he is capable of. He was decisive in wanting to run the intermediate tyres, and then gave us quick feedback on their performance to help Fernando make his decision. It was a session where we saw a lot of drivers making mistakes, and he didn't commit any errors at all.
Q: This weekend has been one of the most difficult for trying to work out the relative speeds of the cars, and strategies: what are you expecting in the race itself?
PS: The circuit has undergone modifications to the pit-lane entrance for this year, and the pit-lane speed limit is lower than normal. These factors certainly push the race towards being a two-stopper. Equally, this is by no means an easy circuit for the tyres, but I do not think that anybody has tyre problems that would force them to deviate from this. I expect to see the first round of stops between laps 9 and 12, but it will be much more interesting to see when the second stop falls - and whether people will go for a long second stint, or space things more evenly.