Q & A with Renault's Fabrice Lom

Conducted and provided by Renault's press office.

Q & A with Renault's Fabrice Lom

Q. Fabrice, what are your thoughts on the last two races?

Fabrice Lom - Principal Engineer, Red Bull Racing Trackside Engine Support: I've got mixed feelings. On the one hand the car has really made a step forward in terms of performance in the past few weeks. We saw that step in our last test session at Jerez, and it was confirmed each time we ran in dry conditions at the races.

Unfortunately, we have only collected a pretty meagre points haul even though good results were achievable each time. We're still behind Williams in the championship when really we should be in front of them by now.

Q. It all began with the incident involving Mark Webber and Sebastian Vettel in Japan...

FL: Exactly. Mark's car was running exceptionally well that day. After the race he said that he would have had no problems in catching Lewis Hamilton's McLaren in the rain, and he would have tried to pass him. Knowing the latter's position in the championship he wouldn't have shut the door, so victory looked almost certain. Williams didn't score any points at Fuji and we could have overtaken them. Very frustrating, really!

Q. What happened in China?

FL: The car was very quick in the dry and even closer to its rivals in the rain. Unfortunately, the track conditions played against us. When you get into Q3 and you qualify in the top ten your fuel load is already decided for the first run. So when your first fuel stop doesn't coincide with the right moment to change from wet to dry tyres, you have to refuel and then pit for tyres a few laps later, and that's how you lose places.

Q. You must find yourself in a bit of a quandary. One the one hand you're frustrated because you haven't caught Williams yet, but on the other, your performance level bodes well for 2008...

FL: It's true. But we haven't given up in our battle with Williams. We have to score four points more than them in Brazil and that's not an impossible task. We're still cautious about next year. First of all, there will be a large number of innovations: no more traction control, standard ECUs etc, so carrying over performance from one season to the next won't be automatic.

Furthermore, teams like Renault and BMW are now investing all their efforts in 2008 while Red Bull Racing is still developing its 2007 car. These different strategies distort the current hierarchy a little. However, the team seems to have a clear developments strategy and the car's improving with every race, so we're confident.

Q. Where are the drivers in their engine cycle?

FL: Mark and David will use new V8s in Brazil.

Q. These engines will do only one race. Can you tune them differently and extract more performance from them?

FL: That's what we would do in an ideal world, but it's impossible! The specification of these engines is frozen and their maximum revs are capped, so it would be difficult to increase their performance. Our drivers are already getting the maximum out of their V8s during race weekends. So we can't even ask them to give them a hammering in Sao Paolo: they do that already!

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