Seven Renault F1 Team preview of the 2005 British Grand Prix.
Fernando, Silverstone comes just
one week after the team's home race in France – how will it feel to be racing in England? Not too different, honestly,
because Silverstone is like a second home race for the team – and I only live forty minutes away in Oxford! The team's factory is
in Enstone, so for at least half the team this is their home race, and we always want to perform well there. What's more,
Silverstone is always a big race in the calendar, and at this point in the season, it is important for our challenge in the
championship as well.
Talk to us a little about the circuit… It is very complex. The first sector is very high
speed, with a lot of fourth and fifth gear corners, and also very bumpy – which makes the visibility from the cockpit quite poor.
Then the final part of the lap is very slow, mostly in first and second gear, which means it is hard for traction and for the tyres.
That makes it difficult to find the right compromise on set-up, because you need the car to have very different characteristics.
what will be the challenges for the race weekend? Well, the weather is normally the first difficult in England, because it
can always be unpredictable – especially in Silverstone, where the conditions can be very windy too. After that, I think the
slow-speed final sector is the most important part for getting a good lap time – we spend a long time in the corners, so if you
can have a good car there you will improve your time a lot. But we still need a good high-speed balance through the first sector, or
you will lost all the time you had gained. It is a big challenge for the engineers and the drivers.
what do you think of Silverstone? It's a great circuit. We know it really well because we test a lot at the track, but every
team has a lot of experience there. The weather is not usually so good, which makes the weekend quite unpredictable and you can
sometimes lose a lot of practice time through bad conditions, but the circuit layout is nice – lots of fast corners which make it
really exciting for the drivers. It is definitely one of my favourite circuits.
You said in France that the supporters gave
you an extra boost – is that also true of Silverstone? Yes, I think so – when you know you have people cheering you on,
it is always an extra motivation. We have our factory only half an hour away from the circuit, so we see a lot of our colleagues,
and they can bring their families too – we have a lot of fun during the weekend. Silverstone is also a circuit with a fantastic
history in Formula 1, so there are lots of reasons to hope for a really strong race weekend.
How do you expect to perform
there? I think we will be very strong – although when we tested there last month, McLaren also looked very quick, so maybe
they will be a little bit ahead of us. But we have new engine developments for Silverstone, which will give us a boost, and I have
always had strong races there in the past. The car needs to have quite high levels of downforce and a strong engine, and the R25 has
both. We have been strong at every circuit, fighting for the podium everywhere. So we will definitely be aiming for a podium finish