US GP: Renault driver preview

Comments from the Renault drivers ahead of the US Grand Prix Jarno Trulli -- Race driver Q: This is the sole trip of the year Formula 1 makes to the States: do you enjoy it? JT: Definitely, yes: there is a different way of living in the ...

Comments from the Renault drivers ahead of the US Grand Prix

Jarno Trulli -- Race driver

Q: This is the sole trip of the year Formula 1 makes to the States: do you enjoy it?

JT: Definitely, yes: there is a different way of living in the States, a different culture, and I enjoy that a lot. At Indy, the evenings are always very lively and the people very friendly and laid-back. It has also become something of a tradition for Mild Seven to throw a party for the whole team, so we are all looking forward to getting out there and having some fun!

Q: Indianapolis is one of the biggest names in world motorsport. It must be special to drive there?

JT: To be honest, the circuit itself is not particularly technical, and the key is to find a good balance between aerodynamic and mechanical grip, to get enough top speed but also good handling through the tight infield. As a venue, though, Indy is fantastic: we go to a lot of circuits during the season, but some of them still stand out. We have just visited Monza, which is one of the temples of motor racing, and Indianapolis is another circuit which holds that special status.

Q: Obviously, the Indy road course is used just once a year: we are coming back to a situation in which Friday testing may prove a distinct advantage...

JT: I think so. None of the teams ever test there, so for the teams and the drivers it is a little bit like a new circuit each time you go back. It just means we have time to get used to driving there, the nature of the circuit, and also the tyres we will be running. The sessions have been useful everywhere, but will particularly help here, just they have done at the other flyaway races.

Fernando Alonso -- Race driver

Q: Fernando, it will be two years since you last drove at Indianapolis: are you looking forward to the race in the US?

FA: I look forward to every race, and enjoy every track: driving a Formula 1 car is always a special feeling. My feeling is that the circuit itself is not fantastic: the corners are quite flat, and not very interesting. However, I think there is probably more than one perfect line through the infield, so it will interesting to experiment and try to find the best solution.

Q: Do you have a sense of the history of Indianapolis?

FA: Sure, this a very special race. During the year, there are some big races that everybody wants to do well at: places like Monaco or Spa. There are three of four Grands Prix that stand out and really have a prestigious name. Indianapolis is definitely among them.

Q: Looking back to Monza, your car was quite seriously damaged at the start. How do you cope with something like that in the cockpit?

FA: To be honest, I adapt to whatever car I have to drive, and always push to be on the limit. When you are on the limit, it is easy to feel any differences in how the car is handling. At Monza it was quite strange, because the car had lots of oversteer after the collision at the start, and when I went across the second chicane and damaged the bargeboards, that actually made the balance a bit more neutral! But I think the key is being able to adapt, and you can only do that if you are pushing to the limit: that is when you can tell how a car has changed, and react accordingly.

Allan McNish -- Test driver

Q: Going to Indianapolis, how competitive can we expect the team to be?

AM: Nowadays, I think we can be quite confident of being competitive everywhere: Fernando was strong in Canada, where set-ups are quite similar to Indy, and Jarno qualified P6 in Monza, one of our least favourable circuits. We can expect a strong showing in America I think.

Q: What are the main technical challenges in terms of setting the car up?

AM: Obviously the long main straight is a very big factor in terms of set-up: we spend over twenty seconds wide open on the throttle, and the downforce level has to be tuned to give us a high enough top speed. Apart from this, though, there are a lot of slow corners, where you need good low-speed grip, but you cannot increase the downforce in order to achieve it. As a result, you need to find a competitive set-up by relying on the mechanical grip of the car.

Q: And from a driving point of view, how do you approach Indy?

AM: Once again, you have to adapt your driving style to suit the different parts of the circuit. You can allow yourself to be reasonably aggressive, as you need to carry a good amount of speed into some of the corners and attack the entry. Your style also needs to adapt to the changing conditions: the track is quite dirty on the first day, meaning we need to be a little more circumspect, but grip levels improve significantly as the cars run during the weekend. This means that by Sunday, you can carry more and more speed into the turns and be confident the circuit will not bite you.


Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Allan McNish , Fernando Alonso