Comments from the Renault team ahead of the US Grand Prix Fernando Alonso Q: Fernando, what is your opinion of the Indianapolis circuit? FA: There is always a fantastic atmosphere there -- it is one of the most famous venues in motorsports,...
Comments from the Renault team ahead of the US Grand Prix
Q: Fernando, what is your opinion of the Indianapolis circuit?
FA: There is always a fantastic atmosphere there -- it is one of the most famous venues in motorsports, and everybody knows about Indianapolis. Without a doubt, it would be one of the best possible races to win a Grand Prix. In terms of the circuit itself, it is a bit complex and there are some very contrasting sections: very high speed straights, and very, very slow corners. You have to be really careful when you are selecting the set-up with the engineers to make sure you do not cost yourself a lot of time.
Q: When you are setting up the car, what do you need -- low downforce for good speed on the straight, or high downforce for good grip in low speed corners?
FA: To be honest, we want high downforce and high speed! But that is impossible, and you have to find the compromise between the two different parts of the circuit: the twisty slow speed section, and the long main straight. The lap time depends on the aero efficiency of the car and the power of the engine, and you have to find the right balance to be able to protect your position and overtake other cars. We have a good level of potential in our car, the R25, so I think we can be strong in Indy.
Q: Giancarlo, you have raced at Indy for the past five seasons -- what is your feeling when you arrive each year?
GF: Indianapolis is a great circuit, because you can feel that there is a fantastic history and heritage around the whole place: you know that people have been racing there for a long time and that it has seen some important events. The speeds on the circuit are high down the main straight, but the infield section is quite slippery. You need to take a lot of care to be as smooth and precise as possible in your driving style in order to be quick.
Q: What are the keys to watch out for in the race?
GF: Even last year, we saw that it can be very demanding for the rear tyres, and with the new single-tyre rules, I think that characteristics will be even more evident this season. There is a lot of acceleration from very low speeds, which puts the tyres under quite a high loading, and also the slippery surface can wear out the tyres. Generally, from half distance onwards, the car is quite tricky to drive and keep on the road. What's more, if you are struggling, it can be quite hard to protect yourself because the long main straight means you can get a good tow and draft past anybody who has a bad exit from the final corner.
Heikki Kovalainen to be third driver at Indianapolis
The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team is pleased to confirm that Heikki Kovalainen, current points leader of the GP2 Series championship, will replace Franck Montagny as the team's reserve driver for the weekend of the US Grand Prix. The team has agreed to release Montagny from his duties to allow him to compete in the Le Mans 24 Hours endurance event over the same weekend.
Kovalainen, a member since 2002 of the Renault Driver Development programme, which was created to nurture the best young international talent, has conducted full testing duties with the Renault F1 Team and already completed over 3500 km at the wheel of this year's R25.
Montagny will resume his position as reserve driver for the Mild Seven Renault F1 Team from the French Grand Prix onwards.