Renault Calm Despite Ferrari Pace

Renault are refusing to panic just yet about the blistering pace shown by Ferrari during the San Marino Grand Prix - even though Michael Schumacher was able to put in times two seconds per lap quicker than eventual race winner Fernando Alonso

Renault Calm Despite Ferrari Pace

The pace that Schumacher was able to lap at when he was on a clear track at Imola sent shockwaves through the pitlane as evidence that Ferrari could be set for a return to winning ways now that their F2005 is sorted.

But despite the relative ease with which Schumacher climbed from 13th on the grid to finish second, after challenging Alonso hard over the closing stages, Renault's executive director of engineering Pat Symonds still thinks it is too early to say that Ferrari and Bridgestone have now become the sport's pace-setters.

"I keep saying not to judge things on the sample of one," said Symonds. "In the middle period, around lap 28 to 48, when Michael was catching Jenson, he essentially had no tyre degradation.

"He was going as fast as the fuel was coming out, and everyone else was suffering tyre degradation. So there is no doubt the Bridgestones were working very well here.

"I don't know whether they have made a breakthrough or whether they got a particularly compound here, but this is a bit of an odd circuit for tyres and Barcelona  is everything this place isn't, so I think after Barcelona we can make more of a judgement.

"Their car is obviously quick but it is always a combination, it is never one thing. Everything has to work together, particularly to be more than a second-and-a-half quicker, it really does have to be everything."

Symonds has also made it clear that although Alonso's pace in part was hampered by the fact he had to run his engine slightly off of full-specification because of fears about its reliability, the difference did not account for the lap-time deficit.

"We limited the mileage, we limited the revs, limited the ignition and a few more subtle changes," he said. "For sure, it cost him performance but to be honest  it wasn't the gap in performance between us and Ferrari today. It wasn't that much."

BAR boss Nick Fry joined many observers in believing that the advantage Ferrari had during the Imola race was more to do with the relative tyre performance of Bridgestone compared to Michelin, than the fact that Ferrari may have found something major on their F2005.

"I'm surprised by the improvement in the Bridgestone tyre, to be one and half seconds faster than the opposition is the tyre, not the car," he said. "I think the  Renault is a very good car, ours is a very good car, and I'm sure the Ferrari is a very good car - but it has not got 1.5 seconds in the chassis."

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