Belgium preview quotes: Renault

Fernando Alonso:

Belgium preview quotes: Renault

Q. Fernando, you came away from Valencia with three points - do you feel you got the most from the weekend?

FA: We were certainly disappointed after qualifying as we thought we had the pace to be higher up the grid, but we had an issue with the brakes and all the teams are so competitive this year that every tenth counts and qualifying is especially tight. We were happier with the performance of the car in the race and to come away with three points was not a bad result considering that we started eighth. I would have loved to reward my Spanish fans with a better result, but being totally honest I think we got the maximum that we could from the race.

Q. Spa is one of your favourite tracks - what makes it so special?

FA: It's one of the traditional circuits that has a lot of history and a special atmosphere. All the drivers love to race there and it's the greatest driving challenge of the year. The high-speed corners are amazing, especially Eau Rouge and Pouhon, and it's always a pleasure to drive there in an F1 car.

Q. What are you expectations for the weekend?

FA: Spa is a circuit where you need a complete car because it's a very long lap and you need to find a set-up to cope with a lot of different challenges. There are quick corners, slow corners and long straights where you need good top speed to overtake or defend position, especially on the approach to Les Combes. Our car has been strong in the last few races so I think we can be quick in Spa too where I will continue pushing hard.

Romain Grosjean:

Q. Romain, you made your Grand Prix debut in Valencia - did you enjoy your first race?

RG: Yes, it was very exciting for me; I enjoyed every second of my first race I want to say a big 'thank you' to the team for their support and help through the weekend.

Everything was new and I had to learn quickly, but I managed to get comfortable with the car and gradually built my confidence over the weekend. Overall I was pleased with my performance and glad to finish the race and gain some experience. When I crossed the line all my mechanics were on the pit wall cheering me on, which made me really happy. My aim now is to continue in the same way this weekend, working well with my engineers and making progress.

Q. How did you spend the days after your first grand prix?

RG: I stayed in Valencia for a day to enjoy the city and get some rest before I went home to Geneva. Then on Tuesday I went back to work at the bank* to keep in touch with reality! I think it's important to continue like this as I enjoy working there and this routine has always worked well for me in the past.

*Romain works part-time at a bank in Geneva

Q. Is Spa-Francorchamps a circuit that you know well?

RG: Yes, it's one of my favourites and I know it very well as I won the GP2 feature race there last year. Spa is one of the classic circuits of the world and I can't wait to experience corners like Eau Rouge in my F1 car. After a street circuit, it will be nice to go to a more traditional track with fast, flowing corners as I continue to learn about the R29.

Q. What's your target this weekend?

RG: So far the team has been very helpful and not put any pressure on me, but I would like to be more competitive in Spa and closer to Fernando. I know that I still have a lot to learn and so I will take things one day at a time and see how I feel after free practice before I start setting myself objectives. You also have to remember that in Spa the weather can be unpredictable and there's usually a chance of rain so we need to be ready to react quickly to any opportunities in the race.

Bob Bell - technical director:

Q. Bob, Fernando picked up three points in Valencia - were you satisfied with that?

BB: It was good to be back in the points, but overall we were disappointed as we had hoped for more from the weekend and believe we could have been fighting for a podium. Fernando was quick in practice and we were quite confident that he had the potential to get on the front row in qualifying, but unfortunately he had a brake problem which meant he started eighth. To make up two places in the race on a street circuit where overtaking is difficult was probably as much as we could have hoped for from the race.

Q. Romain Grosjean made his debut for the team - how did you assess his performance?

BB: Romain did an excellent job during his first grand prix. He settled in very well with the team, has a good relationship with the engineers and was sensible and consistent, which is as much as we could expect of anybody making their debut with little Formula 1 experience. I'm sure he'll continue to mature and progress with each of the remaining races.

Q. Tell us about the technical challenge of Spa and how you expect the R29 to perform...

BB: It's a technical circuit with a wide range of challenges: both high and low-speed. We haven't got the quickest car on the grid, but that's because the R29 is still missing a little bit of performance in all areas rather than a specific weakness that is likely to show up at certain circuits. Based on our performance in recent races, I'd expect to see a similar level of competitiveness in Spa.

Q. What new developments will be on the car this weekend and is the team planning to use KERS?

BB: We're always adding new developments and for the next couple of races we'll be using a low downforce package on the car. As for KERS, we don't plan to use it in Spa, but we're considering it for Monza as we believe it will provide a real advantage there.

Q. How is the team balancing the development of the R29 with next year's car?

BB: Pushing the development of the R29 late into the season while also working on the R30 is stretching our resources to the limit. We're managing things on a week-by-week basis and gradually allocating more and more resources onto next year's car whist still pushing hard to improve the R29. We're fortunate that the aerodynamic regulations next year remain the same and we can transfer what we learn from the R30 onto the current car, but it's fair to say that the majority of the effort is now going into next year's car.

Renault considering KERS for Monza
Previous article

Renault considering KERS for Monza

Next article

Belgium preview quotes: McLaren

Belgium preview quotes: McLaren
Load comments
The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback Plus

The remarkable qualities that propelled Kubica’s F1 comeback

It’s easy to look at
 Robert Kubica’s second Formula 1 career and feel a sense of sadness that he didn’t reach the heights for which he seemed destined. But as BEN ANDERSON discovered, performance and results are almost meaningless in this context – something more fundamental and incredible happened…

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren  Plus

The humbling changes Ricciardo made to deliver the goods for McLaren 

From being lapped by his own team-mate in Monaco to winning at Monza, it’s been a tumultuous first season at McLaren for Daniel Ricciardo. But, as he tells STUART CODLING, there’s more to the story of his turnaround than having a lovely summer holiday during Formula 1's summer break...

Formula 1
Nov 26, 2021
The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title Plus

The potential benefits of losing the F1 constructors' title

As the battle continues to rage over the F1 2021 drivers' championship, teams up and down the grid are turning their attentions to the prize money attributed to each position in the constructors' standings. But F1's sliding scale rules governing windtunnel and CFD use will soften the blow for those who miss out on the top places

Formula 1
Nov 25, 2021
The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher Plus

The invisible enemy that’s made Hamilton’s title charge tougher

After winning his past few Formula 1 titles at a canter, Lewis Hamilton currently trails Max Verstappen by eight points heading into the final double-header of 2021. Although Red Bull has been his biggest on-track challenge, Hamilton feels that he has just as much to grapple with away from the circuit

Formula 1
Nov 24, 2021
Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay Plus

Why F1’s inconvenient penalties have to stay

OPINION: Quibbles over the length of time taken by Formula 1's stewards over decisions are entirely valid. But however inconvenient it is, there can be no questioning the importance of having clearly defined rules that everyone understands and can stick to. Recent events have shown that ambiguity could have big consequences

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax Plus

The mistakes Red Bull cannot afford to repeat in F1 2021’s title fight climax

OPINION: Red Bull has had Formula 1’s fastest package for most of 2021, but in several of the title run-in events it has wasted the RB16B’s potential. It cannot afford to do so again with Lewis Hamilton motoring back towards Max Verstappen in the drivers’ standings with two rounds remaining

Formula 1
Nov 23, 2021
Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Qatar Grand Prix Driver Ratings

Qatar was a virtual unknown for most as Formula 1 made its inaugural visit to the Gulf state, and tyre management quickly emerged as an even more critical factor than normal. Perhaps then it should come as no surprise that two of the championship's elder statesmen produced standout drives

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021
How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage Plus

How Hamilton dominated in Qatar despite missing a key Mercedes advantage

There was simply no stopping Lewis Hamilton on Formula 1's first visit to Qatar. The Mercedes driver eased to pole position and led every lap to secure an utterly dominant victory - even without a key Mercedes weapon in his arsenal to increase the heat on Red Bull heading into the final two races of the gripping 2021 title race

Formula 1
Nov 22, 2021