Just a few hours before the start of the Italian GP, the Renault F1 Team's Executive Director of Engineering Pat Symonds gives his analysis of qualifying, and his expectations for the race. "For Renault, the race will be split into two distinct...
Just a few hours before the start of the Italian GP, the Renault F1 Team's Executive Director of Engineering Pat Symonds gives his analysis of qualifying, and his expectations for the race.
"For Renault, the race will be split into two distinct parts," explains Pat by way of introduction. "Jarno did better than we had expected, but Fernando experienced a technical problem and will start last." The Italian will start from sixth place on the grid after a strong qualifying lap. "Our strategy was based around getting a good qualifying position, but Jarno still did a great job," continues Pat. "Given the current regulations, it is frustrating to see that there is a big gap between Jarno and the car behind: that means we could have put a bit more fuel in, in order to make the first stint a few laps longer."
Last year, Jarno finished fourth after starting from the back. That means the team's hopes for today are pretty high, although nobody is getting carried away. "The top cars are quick enough that we will need some luck to make it on to the podium," admits Pat. "With Jarno, our strategy will be to do two aggressive stints, then to go defensive for the last part of the race."
For Fernando, things will be a little more complicated. "We looked at whether it would be better to start from the pit lane with lots of fuel, but we decided in the end to start from the grid," reveals the Executive Director of Engineering. "He will undoubtedly have to stop earlier than I would have wanted, but we have to accept the consequences of the new rules." The Spaniard started last at the Austrian Grand Prix, another circuit which did not favour the team. He was fifth when he was forced to retire.
Overall, according to Pat, the race should see everybody make two stops. "Some people have certainly chosen a three-stop strategy, but they are not among the leaders," he said. "What's more, overtaking will be extremely difficult. The pit-stops will definitely be key today. In terms of the battle for the win, I suspect we will find that the Ferrari's will make their first stop before the Williams and McLarens."