Renault's engineering director Pat Symonds was philosophical after a disappointing result at Suzuka - and is looking forward to Brazil with renewed determination. Q: Pat, a disappointing weekend in Suzuka saw the team leave Japan sixteen points...
Renault's engineering director Pat Symonds was philosophical after a disappointing result at Suzuka - and is looking forward to Brazil with renewed determination.
Q: Pat, a disappointing weekend in Suzuka saw the team leave Japan sixteen points behind BAR with one race remaining. How is morale?
Pat Symonds: Looking at the championship situation, claiming second place is now a mathematical possibility rather than a probability, but that does not diminish our efforts in any way. Our competitive spirit will not allow us to go to Brazil and give anything but our maximum. Both race drivers will be testing this week at Jerez and we will run new parts in Brazil that the conditions prevented us from evaluating in Japan. Our approach in Brazil will be very aggressive: we will finish the season with pride irrespective of the final championship result.
Q: What was your assessment of the race itself?
PS: To be honest, the tone of our race was set in the pre-qualifying session, which did not go well and left us thirteenth and fifteenth. That gave us poor timing for qualifying itself, putting us out when the track was at its wettest, which in turn compromised our race strategy as the drivers started further back than was ideal. Under the circumstances, though, I think we performed as well as we could have done.
Q: How did you feel the drivers performed?
PS: Fernando drove a very good, strong race to fifth, making up as many positions as any other driver in the race. However, after qualifying eleventh, he was left with a lot of work to do. As for Jacques, I think the conditions this weekend were among the worst possible for him. With limited experience in the car, he was deprived of any set-up time at all at this difficult circuit. The weekend's weather certainly did him no favours at all.
Q: Looking forward, Brazil will host the final race of the season in two weeks' time. What are the team's expectations?
PS: We will expect to be more competitive again in Brazil. We were quicker relative to our competitors in Suzuka than we had been in China and we hope to continue that trend with a strong performance at Interlagos. The team will still be pushing hard through the weekend and we will be determined to end the 2004 season on a high note.