Germany preview quotes: Renault

Q. You scored four points for the team at Silverstone, a reasonable result considering it was a difficult weekend for the team?

Nick Heidfeld: It is definitely not what we were hoping for, but if you look at the problems we faced on Friday and then Saturday when I qualified 16th, I managed to finish 8th on Sunday which is I think the best I could have done. It was actually a fun race, with some nice battles out there, and we faced some interesting weather conditions going from a wet part of the track to a dry part. But, four points is not what we're aiming for - we need more, deserve more and we must be proactive in making that happen. I really believe that we will be able to score a greater number of points over the next few races as we have some more interesting developments to bolt onto the car.

Q. At the Nurburgring you will be in front of your home crowd - is it always special for you to race in Germany?

NH: Yes, it is always special to be in Germany, there's no doubt about that. There are obviously a lot more fans supporting me there, and especially at the Nurburgring - I have so many nice memories from racing at this track. Learning how to ride a bike, driving a go kart and sledging in the snow are all things I did at the Nurburgring. I also won some races in junior categories there, and of course got my first pole position in Formula One at the track, so coming back is like a trip down memory lane.

Q. How enthusiastic are the German fans?

NH: They are very enthusiastic and they have every reason to be because firstly Sebastian (Vettel) is leading and fighting for the championship, and secondly we have a number of German drivers in the championship giving it their best shot. I'm proud to be one of those drivers and proud to be representing Lotus Renault GP on the grid.

Q. What do you expect from the car at this race?

NH: I know, as James Allison has confirmed, that there are some bigger developments coming than we had at the last couple of races. There has been a tremendous amount of work going on in the wind tunnel so I am very hopeful that we will take a significant step forward. We have had to demonstrate our patience during what were a couple of challenging races recently (Valencia and Silverstone), but now is the time for us to take that step forward and compete with the top teams again, which is where we belong.

Q. What are your targets for this race?

NH: Well, my objective is always to perform the very best that I can. I hope that the car is strong, so that we can go back to qualifying in the top 10 (which is exactly where we should be) and then get even stronger in the Constructors' Championship; we will need to take the fight to Mercedes who just overtook us but we know we are more than capable of a fourth placed finish this season.

Vitaly Petrov

Q. Vitaly, how would you summarise your British GP weekend?

VP: Honestly the experience of the venue was fantastic because the British Grand Prix has so many fans, there are just so many passionate people and it was our home race too. Unfortunately our on-track performance was not great over the three days. We had a very poor qualifying which left us in P14 and P16 - well below where we should be qualifying. The wet weather didn't help us, and the rule changes (mapping) clearly had an impact. During the race, I got an OK start but we really struggled with the tyres and I found the car pretty undriveable in the wet conditions. I was unable to get to grips with the inter tyres, which affected us badly and we were just unable to protect ourselves from the other drivers such as Michael (Schumacher). When the conditions dried, we picked up our pace but it was not enough because we needed the car to be stronger than it was, so generally I was disappointed because I thought the high speed corners would suit us well. However since then, I think that we as a team have understood what went wrong and will move on from it in Germany.

Q.You are at the Formula Sochi Festival in Russia this weekend. Does it make you proud to be able to bring F1 to the attention of your own fans?

VP: I think it's been very important to come to Sochi and demonstrate all the sport has to offer. Formula One is getting more popular in my country, and we have a Russian Grand Prix in a few years (2014) so now is a good time to say 'look, this is what F1 is all about!'

Q.What are your expectations for the German Grand Prix at the Nurburgring?

VP: Well, last year the race took place at Hockenheim, but of course this year driving at the Nurburgring will be different. The weather can be quite changeable there, which will again have an impact but the main thing we need is a strong set-up for the car. As usual, aerodynamic efficiency will be the key. It (the car) hasn't performed at the level we know it can, and it has been off the pace for a few races now so we must get it right quickly to turn our season around. Additionally, it's very important we reach Q3 in qualifying so that we can score more points come Sunday afternoon.

Q.What's the minimum you expect from the next two races?

VP: Once again, we will be aiming for the maximum number of points, but we need to look at the whole weekend and get our performance up immediately from P1 right through until the race. Since Silverstone, we have been putting in the work to ensure we give ourselves the best possible chance at the Nurburgring. The speed with which we introduce our new upgrades is the critical factor in our success and I'm convinced that having these upgrades in place for Germany will give us more of a chance.

James Allison - Tech Talk

Q. Overall, what can be learnt from the British Grand Prix?

JA: Sadly, just the simple fact that although we redeemed ourselves to a degree in the race, we are not fast enough at the moment.

Q. What can we expect in Germany?

JA: I hope that it will see the start of us clawing our way back to respectability with a reasonable series of upgrades to the car.

Q. The Nurburgring - what challenges does it present?

JA: Nurburgring does not have any particular outstanding features, but it provides a fair all round test of the performance of a car. Probably the most unusual aspect of Nurburgring is that we only go there every two years. It is standard practice to consult the notes from the previous year prior to going to each circuit and, in Nürburgring's case, these notes are two years out of date and therefore less helpful in offering pre-event guidance. For example: last time we were at Nurburgring not a single car on the grid had a blown diffuser.

Q. After a strong start to the year, the performance in terms of pace has fallen back relative to other teams - how can you explain this and what is in place to rectify the situation?

JA: It is easy to explain, less easy to correct. F1 is a notoriously tough sport where the teams are both highly competent and also straining every fibre to try to improve. Improving slowly is the same as going backwards and we have improved too slowly. While the analysis is facile, finding the gains to remedy the shortfall is not. I am confident that we will shortly deliver these gains, but I would prefer to let the car do the talking in the coming races rather than to give chapter and verse on what we intend to bring to the track.

Q. Can you explain the wind tunnel upgrade and its impact on development progress?

JA: Our upgrade has allowed us to switch from a 50% model to a 60% model. It doesn't sound like a big thing when you say it like that, but any F1 aerodynamicist would nod in agreement at the huge workload involved.

Although we call them "models", the word does not do them justice as it conjures up images of a toy. F1 wind tunnel models are nearly as complicated and almost as expensive as their full size counterparts. They are beautiful pieces of engineering and it asks a lot of the aero department to generate the headroom to take on such an upgrade whilst not letting up on the development of the car.

In addition to the model, there are changes to the tunnel infrastructure that need to be put in place: We had to modify the mounting system for the model and the wheels to cope with the new design. We had to develop new electronic measuring systems to cope with the higher loads. As each part is 20% longer, has 44% more surface area and 73% more volume, we had to upgrade our manufacturing systems to ensure that we could still cope with the throughput of making all of the thousands of wind tunnel test components at the same rate as their much smaller 50% counterparts.

Finally, we had to modify the tunnel working section to accommodate the larger model. This involved stopping the tunnel for 12 days, stripping the entire working section back to its bare skeleton and then building it back up for the new model. This is a huge budget of work, but I am proud that we have achieved it without impact on the programme other than 12 days of lost development. I am also happy that the weeks that have followed its installation have justified the investment as they have been very rich in terms of downforce gained. Our challenge now is to get these gains to the track.

Whitmarsh says Formula 1 should embrace digital age

Previous article

Whitmarsh says Formula 1 should embrace digital age

Next article

Heidfeld hopeful Renault can return to the sharp end of the grid

Heidfeld hopeful Renault can return to the sharp end of the grid
Load comments
The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team Plus

The final throes of Brazil's fleetingly successful F1 team

Emerson Fittipaldi is better remembered for his Formula 1 world championships and Indianapolis 500 successes than for the spell running his eponymous F1 team. Despite a hugely talented roll call of staff, it was a period of internal strife, limited funding and few results - as remembered by Autosport's technical consultant

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence Plus

Why McLaren's expanding agenda will benefit its F1 resurgence

In the 1960s and 1970s, McLaren juggled works entries in F1, sportscars and the Indy 500 while building cars for F3 and F2. Now it’s returning to its roots, expanding 
into IndyCars and Extreme E while continuing its F1 renaissance. There’s talk of Formula E and WEC entries too. But is this all too much, too soon? STUART CODLING talks to the man in charge

Formula 1
Oct 17, 2021
How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential Plus

How Tsunoda plans to achieve his F1 potential

Yuki Tsunoda arrived in grand prix racing amid a whirlwind of hype, which only increased after his first race impressed the biggest wigs in Formula 1. His road since has been rocky and crash-filled, and OLEG KARPOV asks why Red Bull maintains faith in a driver who admits he isn’t really that big a fan of F1?

Formula 1
Oct 15, 2021
The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages Plus

The danger of reading too much into F1's clickbait radio messages

OPINION: After Lewis Hamilton responded to reports labelling him 'furious' with Mercedes following his heated exchanges over team radio during the Russian Grand Prix, it provided a snapshot on how Formula 1 broadcasting radio snippets can both illuminate and misrepresent the true situation

Formula 1
Oct 14, 2021
Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers Plus

Why F1’s approach to pole winners with grid penalties undermines drivers

OPINION: Valtteri Bottas is credited with pole position for the 2021 Turkish Grand Prix, despite being beaten in qualifying. This is another example of Formula 1 and the FIA scoring an own goal by forgetting what makes motorsport magic, with the Istanbul race winner also a victim of this in the championship’s recent history

Formula 1
Oct 13, 2021
Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Turkish Grand Prix Driver Ratings

On a day that the number two Mercedes enjoyed a rare day in the sun, the Turkish Grand Prix produced several standout drives - not least from a driver who has hit a purple patch of late

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory Plus

The hidden factors that thwarted Hamilton's bid for shock Turkish GP glory

Starting 11th after his engine change grid penalty, Lewis Hamilton faced a tough task to repeat his Turkish Grand Prix heroics of 2020 - despite making strong early progress in the wet. Instead, his Mercedes team-mate Valtteri Bottas broke through for a first win of the year to mitigate Max Verstappen re-taking the points lead

Formula 1
Oct 11, 2021
How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form Plus

How pitstops evolved into an F1 art form

A Formula 1 pitstop is a rapid-fire blend of high technology and human performance. PAT SYMONDS describes how the science of margin gains makes stops so quick

Formula 1
Oct 10, 2021