Renault: Safety Car Cost Us

Renault director of engineering Pat Symonds has said he was slightly disappointed that the Chinese Grand Prix was interrupted by two Safety Car periods - because it failed to allow his team to show their full potential

Renault: Safety Car Cost Us

Although Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella helped secure Renault the Constructors' Championship, Symonds claims that the team would have been able to celebrate with a double podium-finish were it not for the two Safety Car spells.

They meant that Alonso saw his lead wiped away twice, while Fisichella equally suffered when he was penalised for holding up the field during the second Safety Car period before losing a position to Kimi Raikkonen in the pitlane.

"The record books will show we finished first and fourth," said Symonds. "But without the Safety Car spoiling our race, first and third were guaranteed, and there was the distinct possibility of scoring a one-two.

"Indeed, I wish the race had been cleaner, because that would have given a clear idea of the performance our teams in Enstone and Viry found for the final races."

Despite his disappointment at not seeing Renault achieve the perfect result to end their brilliant season, Symonds was delighted at the way that Fisichella bounced back from his Japanese Grand Prix nightmare.

"A special word of praise should go to Giancarlo. He drove a fabulous race, and fully understood the team's objectives. It was a selfless drive, as he controlled his pace in the first stint to keep the car in good condition at the end of the race while maintaining a comfortable gap to the McLarens.

"He came in for some criticism in Suzuka, but we win and lose as a team at Renault, and it was extremely satisfying to see him bounce back with such a great performance."

For Alonso, Renault's triumph in China felt as good to him as his success in claiming the Drivers' Championship at Interlagos.

"I didn't think there could be anything equal to Brazil," he explained. "For a driver, winning the championship is the ultimate. But to be on the podium, and look down and see the joy of my people. Well, it is the same feeling again."

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