Mike Gascoyne Q&A

He may be heading for a possible future with Toyota, but for the time being technical director Mike Gascoyne remains committed to the Renault team. The last race at Silverstone was a frustrating one for the Anglo-French outfit, after leading the early laps Jarno Trulli ended up a frustrated sixth, having lost out when the two safety cars turned the race on its head. Meanwhile team-mate Fernando Alonso posted his third mechanical retirement of the year, and is gradually slipping down the points table. However there are still some circuits coming up that should favour Renault. Adam Cooper spoke to Gascoyne.

Mike Gascoyne Q&A

"Very disappointed. I don't think we were carrying any less fuel than anyone else at the start, although we'll never know. The way that everyone came in with both cars during the safety car means that everyone was stopping in the next three or four laps. I think we were on pretty much the same fuel level. In the first stint Jarno was edging away at two to three tenths a lap, certainly from Raikkonen. Barrichello's tyres were obviously coming in. Could we have won the race? I think we would have always struggled, because ultimately we can have a car that's quick over the lap, but we need clean air to do it."

"The trouble with our car, with the lack of straightline speed, once we're in traffic, if you get your momentum through Becketts, you can't defend down the Hangar Straight, which is really what you saw. Jarno defended from Barrichello better than Raikkonen did, but could only do that when he had free air. When he was following the Coulthard/Panis battle, he was actually slowing down in T3 [the third sector] to give himself space to get through Copse and Becketts quickly. If he was on them in Becketts, and lost moment, he was going to get gobbled up by cars that were 10-15km/h quicker. So to answer the question could we have won the race, we would probably have struggled. If we'd come out in front after the first round of stops, once we started getting into lapping people, we were going to struggle."

"No. I think from the way it panned out, we didn't stop on second stops much later than anyone else. We were on pretty much the same strategy as everyone else. I don't understand what McLaren were doing with Coulthard. But I don't think we were desperately different, we just need a clean track, clean air, to maintain that performance."

"I think without the safety cars I think we would have been third or fourth. If you look at Fernando, who had an electrical problem and so stalled it at the second stop, he probably would have come in front of Jarno then. I don't think once Michael got past Jarno he would have then got past Fernando. We could have ended up fourth and sixth, even with Fernando having a bad second stop."

"I think he fought off some of the quicker cars better than Raikkonen did or whatever. I feel very sorry for him. I think he drove a good race. He drove beautifully to start with, but his race was effectively compromised by the safety cars. Then with slower straightline speed he battled really hard and didn't give an inch. We were starting to get the impression that he would have been good enough to hold of Coulthard, which would have been a good effort. He was quite down, but I feel sorry for him. He needs luck."

"Very much so. I think you got the good racing because ultimate performance was probably quite even, but they were good at different times."

"I think what you've got is eight cars all pretty much as quick as each other. They're on different tyres, so as I said, they're quick at different times. Some of them were on different strategies, so they were quick at different times. And that's what makes good motor racing. As I said when we were in clean air, we could defend our position. When we came up behind a backmarker, we were going to get passed, so you'd get this swapping around. So it was a good motor race. I think aside from Michael putting Fernando on the grass, the drivers all drove very professionally. There was a lot of excellent driving out there. The beauty about F1 compared to F3000 is that in F3000 the cars are all quick in the same places. What you've got in F1 is our car's quick through the high speed corners, and slow down the straights. You've got other cars that are quicker on the straight, and slower in the corners, and so on."

"I think we can be competitive everywhere. The good thing about Silverstone for Renault is that everyone said, 'They've gone down to fourth, they've fallen behind.' That isn't the case. We're a force to be reckoned with. You've got to have everything right to win in this business. We're down on straightline speed, so we're always going to struggle in races, even if we can do the same lap times. But we're still out there racing people."

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