Renault Aim to Have Both Cars on Podium

Renault technical chief Bob Bell believes his team must now aim to get both of their drivers on the podium at every race as the title fight with rivals McLaren heats up

Renault Aim to Have Both Cars on Podium

The French car manufacturer's Championship hopes have been boosted in recent races thanks to the engine problems suffered by Kimi Raikkonen - whose 10-place grid penalties in France and Britain prevented him from taking valuable points off Fernando Alonso.

But Renault are well aware that they have not made the most of their opportunities, after stalls by Giancarlo Fisichella have cost the Italian the chance of podium finishes, and that from now on they now cannot afford to give away any more points.

Bell believes that the key to the title chase run-in will be consistency - especially since McLaren's MP4-20 appears to have a slight edge in speed at the moment.

"Quite simply, finishing with both cars in the points is the bare minimum; but in reality, we have to get both cars on the podium," said Bell ahead of this weekend's German Grand Prix. "We need to keep Fernando winning races, and aim to do the same for Fisico - and if he can't, get him home in the top three.

"Certainly, we cannot expect McLaren to continue their recent unreliability, so it is imperative that we do not drop points at any race. Two cars on the podium must be our target every time out."

Renault spent time at last week's Jerez test working on understanding the reasons behind Fisichella's recent stalls in the pits - which is believed to relate to a requirement by the driver to keep the engine revs within a certain range when they accelerate. It is possible that Fisichella exceeded this limit and used too many revs in both Magny-Cours and Silverstone, which caused his problems.

Bell added: "In the event of a problem, we always assume that we can improve the job we are doing, or the tool we have given our drivers, in order to ensure that an incident does not recur.

"We work to address every potential source of difficulty - be that training the driver better, or improving our systems to make them more robust. Fernando has come very close to having similar problems to Giancarlo in race conditions, and we have encountered the issue on other occasions, so we worked during testing last week to make the car and engine easier for the drivers to use reliably in these 'critical' phases."




Conducted and provided by the Renault F1 team press office

Q: Bob, we have passed the halfway mark of the season with the team leading both championships. What will the key to the second half?

Bob Bell: "Consistency. Quite simply, finishing with both cars in the points is the bare minimum; but in reality, we have to get both cars on the podium. We need to keep Fernando winning races, and aim to do the same for Fisico - and if he can't, get him home in the top three. Certainly, we cannot expect McLaren to continue their recent unreliability, so it is imperative that we do not drop points at any race. Two cars on the podium must be our target every time out."

Q: We are entering the summer test ban - what impact will it have on development of the R25?

Bell: "The test ban can be a hindrance to development because it limits the items you can safely introduce at race weekends, as they must be low-risk items in terms of reliability. Having said that, by this stage of the year, most of our development work is focused on aero parts rather than major mechanical projects, so we should be able to maintain our gains through the period of the summer break. We will have new wing packages, engine cover updates and new bodywork details throughout the coming races."

Q: Speculation continues to surround how the team operates with its two drivers - what do you say to suggestions that Renault is favouring Fernando over Giancarlo?

Bell: "The answer is very clear: we do not give different equipment or treatment to our drivers. It is not in our interests to do so, and quite simply, we don't do it. Of course, at this stage in the year, we want to do everything we can to protect Fernando's position in the drivers' championship.

"But for the team - the 750 people working in Enstone and Viry - the constructors' championship is the more important of the two titles, both in terms of motivation but also the financial benefits it brings for the team. It is very important to win it, and to do so, you need two cars finishing well; it makes no sense to favour one driver over another. However, I am sure the fight in the constructors' title will go down to the last race - it is going to be very close."

Q: Giancarlo has encountered some problems at pit-stops in recent races: how are you working to solve them?

Bell: "In the event of a problem, we always assume that we can improve the job we are doing, or the tool we have given our drivers, in order to ensure that an incident does not recur. We work to address every potential source of difficulty - be that training the driver better, or improving our systems to make them more robust. Fernando has come very close to having similar problems to Giancarlo in race conditions, and we have encountered the issue on other occasions, so we worked during testing last week to make the car and engine easier for the drivers to use reliably in these 'critical' phases."

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