Symonds: it will get tougher
Renault technical chief Pat Symonds said that his team are expecting tighter battles in the coming races after sealing a dominant victory and a double podium finish in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

Symonds joined his two drivers -- winner Giancarlo Fisichella and third-placed Fernando Alonso -- on the podium for a champagne celebration in Melbourne after seeing the team perform strongly in the season-opening event.

But he was quick to point out the problems rival teams Ferrari and McLaren suffered in the rain-hit qualifying session on Saturday, which allowed Fisichella to set himself up for victory with a break in the weather.

"We had a good race here last year and we had a great race this year but I think this time last year I said don't judge everything on the sample of one,"said a philosophical but elated Symonds.

"There were extenuating circumstances (to this win). The McLarens didn't get into it and I think it going to be closer for the rest of the year. But this win means everything.

"We had a good winter, we felt confident and it is a fantastic result. It was a strange qualifying session and with Fernando down in 13th I didn't think we could get two on the podium.

"Two on the podium really crowns it, it is a great day and I think the only thing I can say is it won't be the last time (for Fisichella) -- we will see a lot more of him this year.”

The race saw the introduction of several new regulation changes including an aggregate timing set-up for qualifying and a ban on non-enforced tyre changes during the race.

The sport has modified its rules almost every season for several years as the governing body, the FIA, tries to hone the formula to provide entertainment rather than the dull demonstrations of Ferrari dominance recently endured.

Many insiders have already criticised the new rules but Symonds warned against a knee-jerk reaction and called for a breathing space before the changes are assessed for their effectiveness.

"It is easy to be critical but you need to see patterns develop before you make a judgement,"said Symonds. "Qualifying is a new skill and looking after the tyre is a new skill too.”
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Symonds Expecting Harder Times for Renault
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