Spain Preview Quotes: Renault

Jarno Trulli

Spain Preview Quotes: Renault

Jarno Trulli

Q. Jarno, how are you looking forward to Barcelona?

JT:

I'm feeling very good; although I had some problems in Imola, we know we were unlucky with the new regulations and how difficult it is to overtake there. Fernando showed the car had good speed, even though it wasn't our best circuit, and I think we can feel positive about Barcelona. We were quick there last year, it should suit our car well because of the aerodynamics and our reliability has been excellent. I think we can definitely look to score more points this weekend.

Q. What are the challenges for a driver at Barcelona?

JT:

With lots of corners, and most of them at relatively high speed, the car's aerodynamic performance is very important. We spend a lot of time over the lap in the corners, so we have to get the balance absolutely right for them; Turn 3 can be difficult, because the left front tyre is under a very high load for a long time and you can lose a lot of time there with understeer. The other thing is the track surface, which can be quite unsettling in Turn 11, the uphill right hander, but we can't do much about that with the set up; you just have to cope with it as well as possible!

Fernando Alonso

Q. Fernando, this season will be the second home Grand Prix of your career. Does the extra focus on you play a role in your weekend, or not?

FA:

For me, this is obviously a very important race; it's a special feeling to be racing in front of my home fans. It means a lot to me to know that people around the circuit are concentrating on me, and I always get great support from the crowd in Barcelona. Obviously, I am a professional, and my motivation is high for every race: it doesn't matter what circuit I go to, I am always performing to my maximum and that is what is important, to always be pushing for more. But even so, I think that every driver tries to do a little bit more for their home race, and it is no different for me: a good result here this weekend would be very special indeed.

Q. What memories do you have of racing in Barcelona earlier in your career?

FA:

To be honest, I haven't done that many races at Barcelona, but we always used it for lots of testing in the junior categories in Spain. I actually won a race there in Formula Nissan in 1999, and had a good race with Minardi in 2001.

Q. What kind of driving style does the driver need at Barcelona?

FA:

It is definitely what you would call a driver's circuit, with all types of corners: a good mixture of high speed and low speed, and some of them are pretty difficult to get absolutely right. The driver is definitely a big part of getting a good lap time because the quick corners need good commitment and confidence in the car. From that point of view, I enjoy the demands on the driver: we are always being tested one hundred percent over the lap.

Q. Overall, how do you expect to perform in Barcelona?

FA:

I don't think we can be completely sure about how competitive we will be: the first few races were quite surprising in terms of performance, since we performed well at some tracks where we didn't expect to, and had problems at others. I think we can expect a good weekend though, because the most important thing at Barcelona is always aero performance, and we have already seen that we are quite strong in that area.

Allan McNish, Test Driver

Q. As Barcelona is one of the principal Formula One testing venues, this might seem to diminish the advantage of the extra Friday session. Do you think that is an accurate analysis?

AM:

Although everybody obviously has a lot of experience of Barcelona, they won't have tested as close to the race weekend as us. The main advantage will come with getting headstart on the tyres; we are improving constantly from what was already an extremely good base and any extra experience you can get with the tyres in the prevailing conditions is a big advantage. We have to make sure that our advantage is bigger than our rivals expect.

Q. Last week saw the team's first conventional test since the start of the season. How did it go, and how did your work compare to a normal 'unlimited' session?

AM:

Certainly everybody was very conscious of the restricted time, and we were working flat out throughout the two days in order to get through our whole programme. We effectively managed that, and saw lots of improvements in different areas. It was also very positive for me, because the two hours on a Friday aren't really enough to keep fully up to date with everything on the car, so it was good just to build up my seat time. Even though it rained on the second day, we were still running in the wet, and completed more than a race distance on both days; it was a very positive session.

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director:

Q. Jarno was a victim of the new regulations in Imola, being forced to race a car that wasn't properly set up for him. Do you think the new regulations give enough latitude in these situations?

MG:

In the context of the new regulations, the scenario we faced was about the worst one possible, with a problem immediately before Saturday qualifying that had a direct impact on Jarno's race on Sunday. Overall, however, I don't think we need to look at the regulations; as a team, we know the penalties for that kind of problem, and we have to work hard to make sure we don't get caught out again.

Q. On paper, Imola was not the team's best circuit of the year; how compatible do you expect Barcelona to be with the strengths of the package?

MG:

Certainly in theory, Imola wasn't expected to be our best circuit of the year, but the team was pleased with the ultimate level of competitiveness, and we managed to score more points. Barcelona should suit us better: the significant number of high-speed corners should see our aerodynamic qualities come to the fore. We also saw at the last race that Michelin has made big strides with the tyres in these colder European conditions. We had good tyres in Imola, and we are pleased with what we have for Barcelona. I think we can expect very competitive showing.

Q. And finally, how competitive do you expect the R23 to be in Spain?

MG:

I think that in Barcelona, we can look to be as competitive as in Malaysia and Brazil. We had a very productive test last week at Silverstone, making progress on the aerodynamics, mechanical performance and the engine. Certainly, this should be one of our good races of the season; we have to capitalise on that, and make sure we are challenging for podium positions.

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering

Q. Pat, Barcelona might be considered quite an 'easy' circuit for the engineers, as all the teams do so much running there. Consequently, how beneficial do you think the Friday morning session will be?

PS:

Barcelona is our prime testing circuit, more so even than Silverstone, and that is true for most of the teams. This is because it has a variety of corners that you don't usually find together on a single circuit, from 95 to 240 kph, and also of course because of the weather in the winter. However, it is a track that changes a lot, even on a daily basis. The wind direction can make a big difference to set up, like at Silverstone, and the circuit varies a lot with the track temperature: in the pre-season, we generally see quick times early or late in a session, and the circuit then slows down through the middle of the day. We go to Barcelona with a much more optimised baseline set up on the car, but in terms of the fine tuning, we believe as ever that the Friday morning session will help us; however, I think we can recognise that the relative benefits may not be as great as at some of the other circuits.

Q. Are there any new developments for the R23?

PS:

We will be running a few new developments in Spain. As always, we will have some small aerodynamic gains from the wind tunnel, which represent improvements in efficiency. Our work at Silverstone last week was also productive: as a result, we will be running new front suspension geometry, which we found to be very good, as well as a new rear tyre construction which was of particular benefit.

Q. Overall, what level of competitiveness do you expect in Barcelona?

PS:

Certainly, we were pretty quick there in winter testing, although it is always hard to assess times from the winter with any degree of certainty. The majority of our testing was done with the old bodywork and we only ran the new package, which is significantly more efficient, for one day, during which it seemed a good step forward. Based on the winter and our performances in the first four races, I think we can certainly expect to be competitive there, and definitely more so than we were in Imola.

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