Germany Preview Quotes: Renault

Jarno Trulli

Q. Jarno, you finished the race at Silverstone but, once again, circumstances conspired against you. Do you think you can have a problem-free race in Hockenheim?


Before every race, I am confident we can do a good a job. We have a strong package, and the essential thing now is to get everything right on Sunday. Circumstances obviously prevented that at Silverstone, but I am feeling good about the races ahead.

Q. From a driver's point of view, what have the modifications to the Hockenheim layout changed?


The new circuit is completely different: there is no comparison between them. The old layout was all about low downforce and high speed, whereas we now have a medium downforce track. We also have a lot of tarmac run-offs now: they don't change our approach in terms of driving, but it makes our life safer. The drivers have been pushing a lot for these tarmac areas, and things are much better like this.

Q. And what will be the key factors in terms of set-up?


The circuit now has just one long straight for overtaking, so I think we will need good straightline speed to be able to match our rivals and be battling with them. We know the car is strong through the corners, and on the exits of the slower sections, so I believe we are in good shape for the race.

Fernando Alonso

Q. Fernando, you have never raced before on the new Hockenheim. How long does it take you to learn a new circuit?


Not very long, to be honest. To get used to it perfectly, I think it will probably take me six or seven laps: I don't think it will be a disadvantage, especially as I have the extra time on Friday. I am not worried about it.

Q. Temperatures are often very high at Hockenheim. Will this suit the car and its Michelin tyres?


You can never say so for sure. In theory, higher temperatures are better for our tyres, and in hot conditions like Barcelona and Malaysia, the car has worked very well. Our new aero package at Silverstone saw us gain some competitiveness, and we should have also some new parts for the engine in Germany. I think we have to be looking to finish on the podium.

Q. Hockenheim is a circuit where overtaking is possible: after the spectacle of Silverstone, do you think we can have as good a race again?


I hope so! Silverstone was entertaining for the people who came to watch, and it is always good to put on a bit of a show: the spectators enjoy it, and so do the drivers. Things are very competitive at the front, but each team seems to be strong in different areas: I think we might well see a similar kind of race at Hockenheim.

Allan McNish, Test Driver

Q. The last few Friday morning sessions have seen your running disrupted with some problems: has this had an impact on the effectiveness of your work?


Our recent Friday sessions have certainly been compromised a little by technical problems. That is potentially a negative situation, because unlike in traditional private testing, you don't really have any time to sort out problems on a Friday morning without damaging your programme. In spite of the incidents at Silverstone, though, I think our work on the tyres helped significantly over the weekend, and that will continue to be the case at the forthcoming races.

Q. What are the keys to a good set-up at Hockenheim?


Basically, the track is now similar to the majority of others: it has become a standard medium-downforce circuit, with a majority of low and medium speed corners. Traction and mechanical grip are now the key factors, as the track features four very low-speed sections and just two high-speed turns. The other important thing will be to work the tyres correctly. Conditions used to be very humid because of the overhanging trees, but the new layout means the level of humidity has dropped; temperature, though, still remains a critical factor for tyre performance.

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director

Q. Mike, why in your opinion did we see such a good race at Silverstone?


I think Silverstone really showed Grand Prix racing at its best. We had eight cars capable of winning the race, and unlike in the Formula 3000 race, where the cars were all quick at the same points because they all had the same components, the eight cars at the head of the field had different tyres, even from the same manufacturer, and were quicker at different points on the circuit. That balance is what produces great racing, along with a good circuit, and we saw some fantastic overtaking and defending during the British Grand Prix.

Q. The team saw a step forward in competitiveness at Silverstone: can this be maintained at Hockenheim?


I believe we can be as competitive in all the remaining races as we were at Silverstone, and we will have a new engine specification for Hockenheim. Certainly, in very hot conditions the Michelin tyres have been extremely competitive and they are really doing a very good job. Once again, we need to be looking to take points from our direct rivals in Germany, and in order to do so we must ensure that both cars make it to the finish.

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering

Q. Fernando will have a completely new circuit to learn on Friday morning: does that put him at a disadvantage?


No, Fernando won't be at any disadvantage. A good racing driver generally learns 98% of a circuit within 10 laps. The last couple of percent can take years, but he can get very close in no time at all. Fernando is the sort of driver who learns fast: we saw in testing last year that he was up to speed straight away at circuits he did not know, and that is a sign of his natural talent. By the end of Friday morning, if not well before, he will be right on the pace.

Q. With no testing allowed between the next two races, will the balance of power between the tyre manufacturers in Germany be a reliable indicator of form for Budapest?


To say that there will be no testing is not actually completely accurate: in the Friday session at Hockenheim, we will be evaluating a different tyre construction that we may well use in Hungary. As the only top team able to do that during the summer break, it may prove to be to our advantage. Secondly, the tyre requirements of Budapest are very, very different to those of Hockenheim. As the demands of a circuit see us move up and down the tyre range, so does the relative competitiveness of the two manufacturers. The results we will see at Hockenheim will not be a safe indication that the status quo is set until September.

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager

Q. Denis, can you tell us about this circuit from an engine point of view?


Before the changes in 2002, Hockenheim was the circuit where we saw the highest maximum speeds of the year (up to 360 kph). It was the most demanding circuit for engines, with four long straights, one of which exceeded 15 seconds at full throttle. Now, the circuit is only 4.574 km long, and it is an average track in terms of its severity on the engine. The straights are now significantly shorter, with the longest seeing the cars at full throttle for 12 seconds over a distance of 950m. The engine is not under particular strain, and is only at full throttle for 55% of the lap. The only thing that has not really changed is the weather: Hockenheim is always hot, and that represents an additional difficulty for the engine and the cooling.

Q. Will there be any developments for this race?


We will some developments to improve reliability, which were tested at Silverstone before receiving final approval last week.

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