US Preview Quotes: Renault

Jarno Trulli

Q. This is the sole trip of the year Formula 1 makes to the States: do you enjoy it?


Definitely, yes: there is a different way of living in the States, a different culture, and I enjoy that a lot. At Indy, the evenings are always very lively and the people very friendly and laid-back. It has also become something of a tradition for Mild Seven to throw a party for the whole team, so we are all looking forward to getting out there and having some fun!

Q. Indianapolis is one of the biggest names in world motorsport. It must be special to drive there?


To be honest, the circuit itself is not particularly technical, and the key is to find a good balance between aerodynamic and mechanical grip, to get enough top speed but also good handling through the tight infield. As a venue, though, Indy is fantastic: we go to a lot of circuits during the season, but some of them still stand out. We have just visited Monza, which is one of the temples of motor racing, and Indianapolis is another circuit which holds that special status.

Q. Obviously, the Indy road course is used just once a year: we are coming back to a situation in which Friday testing may prove a distinct advantage?


I think so. None of the teams ever test there, so for the teams and the drivers it is a little bit like a new circuit each time you go back. It just means we have time to get used to driving there, the nature of the circuit, and also the tyres we will be running. The sessions have been useful everywhere, but will particularly help here, just they have done at the other flyaway races.

Fernando Alonso

Q. Fernando, it will be two years since you last drove at Indianapolis: are you looking forward to the race in the US?


I look forward to every race, and enjoy every track: driving a Formula 1 car is always a special feeling. My feeling is that the circuit itself is not fantastic: the corners are quite flat, and not very interesting. However, I think there is probably more than one perfect line through the infield, so it will interesting to experiment and try to find the best solution.

Q. Do you have a sense of the history of Indianapolis?


Sure, this a very special race. During the year, there are some big races that everybody wants to do well at: places like Monaco or Spa. There are three of four Grands Prix that stand out and really have a prestigious name. Indianapolis is definitely among them.

Q. Looking back to Monza, your car was quite seriously damaged at the start. How do you cope with something like that in the cockpit?


To be honest, I adapt to whatever car I have to drive, and always push to be on the limit. When you are on the limit, it is easy to feel any differences in how the car is handling. At Monza it was quite strange, because the car had lots of oversteer after the collision at the start, and when I went across the second chicane and damaged the bargeboards, that actually made the balance a bit more neutral! But I think the key is being able to adapt, and you can only do that if you are pushing to the limit: that is when you can tell how a car has changed, and react accordingly.

Allan McNish, Test Driver

Q. Going to Indianapolis, how competitive can we expect the team to be?


Nowadays, I think we can be quite confident of being competitive everywhere: Fernando was strong in Canada, where set-ups are quite similar to Indy, and Jarno qualified P6 in Monza, one of our least favourable circuits. We can expect a strong showing in America I think.

Q. What are the main technical challenges in terms of setting the car up?


Obviously the long main straight is a very big factor in terms of set-up: we spend over twenty seconds wide open on the throttle, and the downforce level has to be tuned to give us a high enough top speed. Apart from this, though, there are a lot of slow corners, where you need good low-speed grip, but you cannot increase the downforce in order to achieve it. As a result, you need to find a competitive set-up by relying on the mechanical grip of the car.

Q. And from a driving point of view, how do you approach Indy?


Once again, you have to adapt your driving style to suit the different parts of the circuit. You can allow yourself to be reasonably aggressive, as you need to carry a good amount of speed into some of the corners and attack the entry. Your style also needs to adapt to the changing conditions: the track is quite dirty on the first day, meaning we need to be a little more circumspect, but grip levels improve significantly as the cars run during the weekend. This means that by Sunday, you can carry more and more speed into the turns and be confident the circuit will not bite you.

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director

Q. After a slightly downbeat weekend in Monza, do you expect things to pick up again in Indy?


Monza was disappointing because Jarno especially looked set to have a very good run. However, I think Indy will suit our car better, and that we will be very strong there. The engine upgrades we introduced in Italy will be run at Indy, which will help us down the straight, and I think we need to be looking to finish on the podium.

Q. What are the key factors for having a quick car at Indianapolis?


Although the downforce levels used at Indy are not as low as those we saw in Monza, there is still one very long straight for which we need to tune the top speed. The length of the straight makes aerodynamic efficiency into one of the key factors, and that is a strong point of the R23B. In terms of our aerodynamic performance, we are still at the very top level relative to our competitors, and that gives me confidence for the race.

Q. And once more, Friday testing should prove an asset?


The facts are simple: we tested as much as the other teams last week at Barcelona, and had a very productive session. On top of that, we will have the benefit of added running on a circuit where nobody is able to test. Even on the dirtiest circuits this season, we have obtained extremely useful data, and I believe that will be the case once again this weekend.

Denis Chevrier, Engine Operations Manager

Q. Denis, what are the main demands on the engine at Indianapolis?


The principal feature of the circuit is of course the main straight, which, at twenty-two seconds, provides us with the longest continuous full throttle period of the year: in spite of the severity of Monza, for example, the longest uninterrupted acceleration at the Italian circuit is only fifteen seconds long.

Q. Does the circuit layout pose any other problems?


The main straight itself poses the additional problem of slipstreaming, and this can potentially cause over-revving unless the final drive ratios are adapted to take account of it. Furthermore, the widely varying characteristics of the circuit, with speeds from over 330 kph to under eighty, place demands on the engine throughout its operating range. While providing a progressive, driveable engine is always an objective for the engineers, it is of particular importance at this circuit.

Q. Will there be any engine developments for this race?


The baseline specification of the race engines is the same as that which was raced in Monza. They will feature the cylinder head which made its race debut in Italy. Some small developments have also been undertaken which should allow us to increase engine revs.

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