Japan Preview Quotes: Renault

Jarno Trulli

Japan Preview Quotes: Renault

Jarno Trulli

Q. Jarno, Suzuka is well known as one of the drivers' favourite circuits of the year. Is that the same for you?

JT:

Definitely. It is my favourite type of circuit, that's to say somewhere very technical which demands lots from the driver and the car. It has every type of corner, and the car needs a little bit of everything to be competitive there. The most difficult part is the series of 'esses' behind the pits, where you need to get the perfect line from start to finish, because how you take each corner dictates the speed you can carry into the next one. It's a big challenge, but one I enjoy a lot.

Q. And how competitive do you hope to be in Japan?

JT:

I think Suzuka will suit the R23B, and certainly we should be even more competitive than at some of the other tracks we have been to recently. Since we introduced the 'B' spec at Silverstone, the car has been very strong at every type of circuit, and the characteristics of Suzuka should suit our package. The guys at Viry have worked very hard through the year as well, and that has brought big benefits. We are looking to end the season on a high, and the fantastic Japanese fans will only help that!

Fernando Alonso

Q. Fernando, you have only raced at Suzuka once before, in 2001. How do you remember it?

FA:

Suzuka is a fabulous circuit to drive a Formula 1 car on. There have been some changes at 130R which means one of the big challenges is different, but we still have the Esses, as well as almost every other corner around the circuit, to keep us on our toes. In one sense, set-up is simple there: you just need a car that is good at everything. In reality, that means lots of compromises, so we will be working hard in practice to dial in the chassis and tyres. But we will be good there: the circuit should suit us.

Q. In terms of results, things haven't been plain sailing since your win in Hungary. What do you think Japan will hold?

FA:

I don't think we will be as strong as in Hungary, but we will definitely be looking for a podium finish. The teams in front of us will be pushing hard, so our job will be even more difficult: two of them are trying to win the Drivers' Championship, and the other is fighting for the Constructors'. Even so, I still have a chance to get fourth in the championship: I missed out at Indy, but we will be fighting with the other top teams in Japan. If I don't get it, it's not a problem: this season has been far beyond what I had hoped for. But it would be fantastic way to round things off, and I will be pushing hard to achieve it.

Allan McNish

Q. Allan, the final Heathrow test session of the year: what will it focus on?

AM:

Just as at every circuit this year, we will be concentrating on tyre work, and making the right choice for this track and the prevailing conditions. The circuit is not dirty, because it is used regularly, but the surface is very abrasive. What's more there are lots of long, high-speed corners which place stress on both sides of the car, and particularly at the front: the first turn is a single double-apex corner which loads up the left front, while Spoon puts a lot of energy into the right-front tyre. I think the circuit will suit Michelin: our special relationship with our tyre supplier will be a benefit, with the extra running on Friday, but you can bet your bottom dollar the competition will be fighting just as hard as well, with a championship to win. It will be a fascinating fight.

Q. Suzuka is a circuit where drivers need to get into a good rhythm. For the two race drivers, the two hour session should therefore presumably prove a big benefit?

AM:

Definitely, yes. Suzuka is one of the circuits that the drivers need to get to know again each year, but even more than some we have visited, the driver can make a big difference there: a big part of a good lap time is getting into a rhythm with your driving. On top of that, our car is easy to drive, handles well, and the engine has been making good progress recently. I think the Heathrow session will be a big advantage for the whole team.

Q. Finally, this will be your last outing with Renault. Do you have a few words on this occasion?

AM:

I have had a very good season, and enjoyed it a lot. The decision to adopt the Heathrow Agreement has worked very well for the team, and I have been pleased with my participation in that. It has been particularly satisfying in the respect that my contribution on Friday and throughout the weekend has had a direct impact on our results: it proved a good showcase for my talents, and the team's results this year speak for themselves. It has been a great experience.

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director

Q. Mike, first of all, a word about Indianapolis: what was your verdict on the result?

MG:

I think we have to be disappointed with getting just one car to the finish in fourth place. Jarno put in a storming, attacking drive during the race, but he had been flying all weekend, and his mistake during warm-up really cost us: without that he could have been fighting at the front during the race. Overall, I think we demonstrated a very encouraging level of speed during the weekend but, given that, we should have converted our pace into more points: for Japan, we need to get two cars to the finish, and exploit fully our package to round the season off properly.

Q. The team has been looking forward to this race: why?

MG:

At the start of the year, once you have run the car, you get a feel for the circuits where you think will be strong: Barcelona and the Hungaroring were two of those circuits, and Suzuka is another. It is a track which demands a predictable, responsive chassis, and excellent aerodynamics: those are areas in which we excel. Coupled with the progress the engine has made in recent months, it should give us a very strong package for the final race of the year.

Q. So overall, you must be expecting a strong showing?

MG:

We must look to qualify in the first couple of rows, run an aggressive strategy and race to the podium. This will be the final race of an exciting and successful season: we will be looking to finish it on a very positive note.

Denis Chevrier, Engine Project Manager

Q. Denis, what are the principal challenges for the engine at Suzuka?

DC:

During the lap, the engine spends 55% of its time under maximum load (over 14,000 rpm). In previous years, this included a maximum continuous period of twelve seconds but, if 130R can now be taken flat, this may increase to 17 seconds, or the second-longest single period of the year after Indianapolis. Furthermore, the rev range used is one of the most varied, from 7,500 rpm at the chicane (approx. 60 kph) to maximum revs: this is the second widest range after Monaco.

Q. Does that have implications for reliability?

DC:

Only periods at maximum load have a significant impact on the reliability of the engine, and the amount of the lap spent at full throttle is not particularly high. However, the longer the period at maximum load, the bigger the implications for reliability in terms of the effort the components undergo, and the high operating temperatures they reach: the changes at 130R may therefore impose some constraints we will have to plan for.

Q. In terms of performance, what are the key factors?

DC:

Good driveability is crucial as there is a large part of the lap spent at part throttle, particularly in the esses. Power needs to be available from low revs, for the reasons I have already explained. The extra revs we will be able to use this weekend during second qualifying and the race will be a definite benefit.

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