The Renault F1 Team endured its toughest race weekend of the 2006 season today in Indianapolis. Run in sweltering temperatures at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the US Grand Prix proved tough for the Renault-Michelin package,...
The Renault F1 Team endured its toughest race weekend of the 2006 season today in Indianapolis.
Run in sweltering temperatures at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the US Grand Prix proved tough for the Renault-Michelin package, with neither Giancarlo Fisichella nor Fernado Alonso able to keep the pace of their Ferrari rivals.
The Renault drivers finished the race in their starting positions, scoring a total of ten points to bring the team's total from its North American campaign to 25 points -- compared to zero in 2005. The team now enjoys a 26-point advantage over Ferrari in the constructors' championship, while Fernando leads the drivers' championship by 19 points.
Giancarlo's strong podium finish has elevated him to third position, on a total of 43 points. After a run of four successive victories, today's result only strengthens the team's determination to bounce back even stronger at the next event, its home race in Magny-Cours.
Giancarlo Fisichella, 3rd position:
"I am really pleased with this podium after the most difficult race of the season for us. I got a good start but was quite cautious under braking into turn 1, which let Fernando get past me. However, when the Safety Car went back in, I had a speed advantage over him and when I got a good run down the main straight, he didn't make life difficult for me."
"After that, the key was to keep my pace, carry on pushing and see if something would happen to the Ferraris. Trulli was quick behind me too, so we had to keep on pushing all the way through the second stint, but everything held together and I was able to turn the revs down in the final part of the race."
"Third was the best I could have done today, and I am very happy to have done the maximum for the team. To be on the podium at such a hard track for us is a strong result, and I think things will get back to normal again in Magny-Cours.
Fernando Alonso, 5th position:
"Fifth was the maximum I could do today. I was not competitive all weekend and the car was lacking grip all the way through the race, as well as completing race two of a very hard cycle for the engine. So I did the maximum possible, and made sure I scored points for the championship."
"Looking back to last year, I scored zero points in North America; this year, I have scored 14 and my championship position is still very strong. That's a big reason to stay positive. Ferrari and Bridgestone were quicker than us today but in ten races, we have had the better tyres for nine of them, so I am not worried for the next Grands Prix."
"We must carry on doing our job, and know that sometimes we can win, sometimes not. I am already looking forward to the next race, where I think we will see a more usual balance of competitiveness between Renault and Ferrari.
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director:
"Today was not our day. The competition was too strong for us, and the maximum we could have got from the race was eleven points. In the end, we scored ten, so we limited the damage as much as possible. Giancarlo did a fantastic job to finish third, it was everything we could ask of him today."
"Fernando never got the car to his liking all weekend, but still scored valuable points. The team has done a great job during two difficult races in North America, and we all go to France determined to win again at our home race -- and extend our advantage in the championship."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"It was great to see Giancarlo on the podium, after a very strong race on a day when our competitors were clearly quicker than us. Fernando struggled with the car this weekend, but we did as much as we could to limit the damage in terms of the championship."
"Track temperatures were in the 50s this afternoon, and on a circuit that demands so much from the tyres, Michelin responded in a conscientious manner. We may not have won this race, but we can still hold our heads high and they, like us, will be determined to bounce back on home territory in Magny-Cours in two weeks' time."