Renault F1

Formula 1 Team reports for the 2009 F1 season includes race previews, reports and reviews
Ed
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Renault F1

Postby Ed » Mon Mar 23, 2009 11:20 pm

Australian Grand Prix 2009 Preview

The ING Renault F1 Team gears up for the start of the new season which begins this weekend with the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne's Albert Park.

Fernando Alonso: "We will have a real fight on our hands when we get to Melbourne"

Fernando, you ended the 2008 season strongly. Can you carry that form into 2009?
That is certainly our intention! We finished in a strong position last year and this year our goal is to fight for the championship. But we have lots of new regulations this year and nobody really knows what will happen when we get to Melbourne. From what we have seen in testing it seems all the teams are very close and so we will certainly have a fight on our hands.

There has been less testing available this season, but are you pleased with the progress of the R29?
The first test in Portimao was tough as we had some bad luck with the weather, but when we introduced updates at the later tests we quickly improved the car. We've learnt how to optimise the set-up and we now have a car that is easy to drive and consistent. What is important now is that we keep improving and developing the car throughout the year.

Are you excited about the new regulations introduced this season?
Yes, with the KERS and moveable wings the drivers now have more work to do inside the cockpit. During testing I have been working hard to adapt to these new systems so that I can get the most from them in Melbourne. I'm really pleased with the KERS system that we have developed and hopefully this will give us an advantage at the start of the season. I'm not sure if it will make overtaking easier, but it will certainly improve lap times.

What are your expectations for Melbourne?
In the past Albert Park has been a good track for Renault and so I hope we can have a strong weekend. I think the order of the teams will probably be different from the last few years as we have got used to Ferrari and McLaren dominating, but with the new rules I think there will be lots of cars fighting for the win. Hopefully we will be in that fight.

Nelson Piquet: "We are heading to Melbourne with high hopes"

Nelson, you're entering your second season of Formula 1 – are you excited about the year ahead?
Absolutely – I'm feeling much more confident this year and looking forward to returning to Melbourne. I learned so much with the team in 2008 and I now have a year of experience under my belt which will make things easier. It's also a new era for Formula 1 with lots of changes, but we've made good progress with the car during testing and we are heading to Melbourne with high hopes.

How difficult has it been adapting to the new rules introduced this season?
The cars are totally different to last year and so all the drivers have had to adapt to this. Learning about KERS has been a challenge for the engineers and drivers, just as the moveable front wing flaps have been because these are totally new systems that are being introduced this year. We've also had to adapt to the return of slick tyres, but I'm really happy to see them back as they are always more fun.

What are your thoughts on the Albert Park circuit?
It's a challenging track and quite a difficult place to set the car up as it's a mixture between a permanent venue and a temporary street course with lots of tricky slow speed corners, as well as some quicker sections. As a city, I love Melbourne: the fans are great and the atmosphere of the race is always pretty special.

Have you set yourself a target for Australia?
It's still difficult to know how we compare to the other teams and so setting a target isn't easy. We know we have a good race car that is consistent and so I think we will be competitive in Melbourne. I will do my best to try and reach Q3 in qualifying and hopefully finish in the points.

Pat Symonds: "I'm fairly confident that we can deliver a strong start to the season"

Pat, it has been a busy winter at the test track - do you feel the team is fully prepared for Melbourne?
I think we're as prepared as we can be, but with the new testing regime we will arrive in Melbourne with fewer kilometres on the car than we would normally have achieved in previous seasons. The weather has also been quite poor during pre-season testing, which has held us back a little, but when the car has been running it has been working well and I'm not too worried.

What about the drivability of the car? Are the drivers happy with it?
At our first test in Portugal we only had one dry day and initially the car was quite difficult to drive, especially as we were getting used to the new aerodynamic characteristics. But as we've introduced the updates in preparation for Melbourne, we've moved towards a pretty driveable car that both Fernando and Nelson are comfortable with and it's now behaving much more as we want it to.

We have some radical new regulations this season – do you enjoy the challenge this represents?
I certainly enjoy the challenge and I think it's great to have change reasonably regularly - I wouldn't want to rip up the rule book every year, but the regulations had been quite stable for a while so it was time for a change. There are a lot of things to get used to: new aerodynamics, operational restrictions in testing and of course KERS, which is a technology that we've had to learn from scratch. Initially we may have been sceptical about the ability to get KERS on the car in such a short space of time, but we've managed to get our system working well and that's a credit to all the guys who have worked on our system at Renault.

Is the Australian Grand Prix a popular race with the team?
I enjoy it and I think the whole team does as it's when we get back to racing, which is ultimately what we're all here for. Melbourne is a great city and everybody looks forward to going there, although I suspect we will end up seeing a lot more of the garages in Albert Park than the city itself!

Have you set a target you would like to see the team achieve in the first race?
The target I set at the beginning of the season is always the same: to be winning races and challenging for the championship – it would be wrong to have any other intention. However, when you start tempering your expectations with reality, you may moderate that target a little bit. Nonetheless, I do believe that we've got a car that is good enough to challenge for wins and when you combine that with our drivers and the team's ability to go racing, I'm fairly confident we can deliver a strong start to the season.


Melbourne: Tech File

Melbourne's Albert Park is a stop-start mixture of temporary street course and a purpose-built track. This means the circuit includes an interesting variety of corners with unusual geometry and a constantly evolving track surface. Setting up the car is therefore a challenge, which is further complicated by the fact that most of the sixteen corners are really quite different with each one presenting a different sort of challenge for the cars and drivers.

Aerodynamics
Melbourne is on a par with the aerodynamic demands of Silverstone or Sepang and therefore requires a medium to high downforce set-up. With the introduction of moveable front wings, the drivers will be able to change the angle of their front wing by six degrees twice per lap (once to change to the new angle, and the second time to return to the original setting) which could be used to help balance the car between two corners or to aid following another car closely.

The circuit features a few critical high-speed corners, such as the fast fourth gear open chicane that forms Turns 11 and 12, which is perhaps the most challenging part of the lap, as Fernando Alonso explains:

"You have to be so precise through this section. We take these corners at over 200 km/h and the approach to turn 11 is tough as your view is channelled by the concrete walls and you don't see the apex until late. If you make a mistake in turn 11, you lose position for turn 12 and that can ruin your lap time."

By using a higher downforce set-up, the drivers will hope to get good traction on the exit of the slower corners, which is important for carrying good speed onto the straights.

Suspension
Melbourne has a number of chicanes where a responsive car with a good change of direction is critical. The suspension therefore has to be relatively stiff to achieve this, but at the same time the car needs to be soft enough to use the curbs and have good stability under braking. An optimum set-up therefore demands a compromise, dovetailing hard and soft settings accordingly.

Brakes
Albert Park is a demanding circuit on brakes with six major braking zones demanding stops from over 300 km/h. It is not the severity of the braking, but the frequency that makes an efficient brake cooling solution a priority during the race. The track surface can be bumpy in the braking zones, but nothing too significant and a soft enough car should be able to ride the bumps without locking up under braking.

Tyres
The temporary nature of Albert Park means the track is ‘green' and dusty at first and gradually improves over the weekend. With the re-introduction of slicks this year, the team will pay careful attention during free practice to the behaviour of the super-soft and medium compounds that Bridgestone will bring to this race – both of which must be used during the race. The high track temperatures that we usually experience in Melbourne will play a role in determining which compound is preferred by the drivers.

Engine Performance
Melbourne offers a good test for engines with the V8s operating at full throttle for 66% of the lap. However, the secret of a good lap time depends not on peak power, but on good torque to help launch the car out of the slow corners that connect the succession of straights. This is particularly true of turns 14, 15 and 16, which are all tight, tricky corners, as Nelson explains:

"The car wants to understeer in the final part of the lap and so that can make it difficult to get on the power early. Having KERS this year might make a difference as we may be able to use it to help our acceleration out of these low-speed corners or if we are trying to gain or defend a position. Either way it should help improve our lap times."

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Postby Ed » Sat Mar 28, 2009 12:49 am

2009 Australian Grand Prix Friday

The ING Renault F1 Team enjoyed a productive day in Albert Park as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet began their preparations for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso
Free practice 1: 16 laps, 1:28.123, P10
Run 1: 8 laps, new option tyres
Run 2: 7 laps, same option tyres, change to rear suspension

Free Practice 2: 28 laps, 1:27.232, P12
Run 1: 7 laps, same option tyres, gearbox ratios modified
Run 2: 8 laps, new option tyres
Run 3: 7 laps, new prime tyres
Run 4: 6 laps, new prime tyres, change to rear suspension

Fernando: "At last, after lots of winter testing, expectations and predictions, we have started the 2009 season. Today we concentrated on car set-up in hot conditions without being too concerned by what our competitors were doing. We now have lots of valuable information and, as usual, we will go over that this evening. We are missing some grip but we have some ideas about how we can overcome these issues. So I'm still confident. We should deliver a better performance tomorrow."


Nelson Piquet
Free practice 1: 25 laps, 1:29.461, P18
Run 1: 10 laps, new option tyres
Run 2: 9 laps, same option tyres
Run 3: 5 laps, same option tyres

Free Practice 2: 35 laps, 1:28.076, P19
Run 1: 6 laps, same option tyres, gearbox ratios modified, changes to rear suspension
Run 2: 14 laps, new option tyres
Run 3: 9 laps, new prime tyres, adjustment to front wing
Run 4: 6 laps, new prime tyres, adjustment to front suspension

Nelson: "That wasn't an easy day. I struggled to find a good balance on a green track with little grip. However, the settings that we worked on today have still helped us explore some interesting developments for tomorrow and I remain positive."


Technical Debrief with Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering

Track conditions: "As always in Melbourne, there are lots of support races and the track was in reasonable condition when free practice began. Having said that, the sessions took place quite late in the day and the asphalt tended to cool down and we had to take this into account. "

Chassis balance: "The car was not as well balanced as we would have liked. We encountered lots of oversteer today and reducing that is what we are concentrating on."

Tyre performance: "The harder tyres are rather difficult to get up to temperature. The soft tyres give a good level of performance from the first lap, but they then suffer from quite significant graining."

Problems encountered: "We encountered an electrical problem on Fernando's car this morning and that limited his track time a little bit. Other than that, the R29 has not had any problems."

Outlook for the rest of the weekend: "Our goal is to focus on the balance of the car in order to overcome the oversteer on this demanding circuit."

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Postby mlittle » Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:11 am

Australian GP
Renault F1 Race Report


It was a mixed afternoon for the ING Renault F1 Team as Fernando Alonso finished in 6th position, while teammate Nelson Piquet retired from the race in the early stages.

In a race punctuated by a safety car period, Fernando steadily made up for ground that he had lost on the first lap. He enjoyed a combative race to emerge in the points during his final stint and benefited from the late race incidents. Having secured three points, the team now turns its attention to next week's Malaysian Grand Prix determined to deliver a more competitive performance.

Fernando Alonso P6
First stint: 19 laps, prime tyres (hard)
Second stint: 33 laps, prime tyres (hard)
Third stint: 6 laps, option tyres

Fernando: "6th place is not the best result, but in a way we have to be happy because we started the race in a difficult position and I was pushed wide at turn 1 onto the grass and so I dropped to the back of the pack. After that, it was difficult and so it's great to score points. With what happened during the race, the incidents and the safety car, we managed to finish 6th. In terms of the overall results and looking at our competitors, we have to be happy with the result. With the KERS I didn't feel a big difference and I was a little bit disappointed at how it worked. We also need to work on the tyres a bit more at the next race."

Nelson Piquet DNF
First stint: 19 laps, prime tyres (hard)

Nelson: "I was really happy because we were lucky at the beginning of the race to gain some positions. The car was good and I was having a consistent drive. But when the safety car came out I started to have some problems with the brakes. I had a good restart and overtook Nico Rosberg, but when I touched the brakes again they were gone. I spun out and I was lucky I ended up in the gravel, so there was no damage to myself or the car. The car was not as competitive as we wanted it to be in the race but we were still running in the top 8. The Malaysian circuit should suit us better and I'm sure that we can get a good result there next week."

---Flavio Briatore, Managing Director ING Renault F1 Team
"The three points scored by Fernando are not a great consolation for what has been a disappointing weekend for us. We were just not competitive enough and our qualifying performance penalised us for the race. Fernando lost several positions at the start because of the first corner incident which he could not avoid. That said, our two drivers were consistent and tried to make the most of the situation. Nelson made a good start and his race was very promising, but a technical problem unfortunately brought his race to an end. It's only the first Grand Prix and our intention is to work hard to fight back quickly, starting at the next Grand Prix in Malaysia.

---Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering
"Nelson's accident appears to have been caused by a problem with the brake system, although as yet we don't know what that might be. It's a shame because he was in a reasonable position. We are clearly not as competitive as we need to be and there is a lot of work to be done to get to the front."

---Remi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations
"A mixed result this afternoon with the retirement of Nelson and we will need to look into why he couldn't finish. We would have been able to do something good with Nelson who had a great start to the race. I think he could have been on the podium, so it's a shame. We finished 6th with Fernando and when you consider the level of competitiveness that we have shown this weekend, it's not a bad result. We know that we have to do better and so we will take these points and work hard to try and get a strong result at the next race."
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Postby mlittle » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:41 am

Renault Malaysian GP Preview


------The ING Renault F1 Team reflects on the opening race of the season in Melbourne and looks ahead to this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.

~~Fernando Alonso: "I expect our car to be more suited to Sepang"

Fernando, Australia was a tough weekend for the team, yet you must be happy to come away with four points...

Yes, considering how our weekend went in Australia, we have to be happy to have come away with some points. I lost a lot of positions at the start of the race as I had to avoid the first corner accident in front of me and from then on I was at the back of the field and fighting to recover the lost ground. As usual the first race of the year was quite eventful and in the closing stages we were able to take advantage of the incidents to move up into fifth position. Although it's nice to have the points, we know we must work hard to improve the car, but we have the belief that we can do that.

Looking ahead to Sepang in Malaysia, what areas do you feel you need to concentrate on?

In Australia we struggled in qualifying and our race suffered as a result. So we need to make sure we qualify well so that we can have a strong race. We also need to make sure we get the most from our KERS system at the start of the race as there is a long run to the first corner where it should make a big difference. We must also concentrate on understanding the tyres because Melbourne showed that the two compounds play a major role in determining the performance of the car. This will be particularly important in Malaysia where the track temperatures will be very high so we need to see how the tyres perform in these conditions.

What are your expectations for the race this weekend?

Sepang is totally different to Melbourne and so I expect our car to be more suited to the circuit. It's a special track for me as I've won there twice and it's probably my favourite circuit so I always enjoy racing there. There are lots of fast, sweeping corners and it's a circuit where you can really appreciate the performance of a Formula 1 car. In terms of our competitiveness, I hope we will be stronger there, but as we saw in Melbourne all the teams are very closely matched and we will have to fight hard to finish in the points.


~~Nelson Piquet: "I'm fully focussed on coming back with a strong weekend in Malaysia"

Nelson, your race in Melbourne ended early, but until your retirement you were looking competitive...

Yes, I had a really good start to the race and made up a lot of ground on the first lap, but after the safety car came out I started having some problems with the brakes. When the race restarted I was fighting with Rosberg and managed to get passed him, but when I touched the brakes they were totally gone, which caused me to spin into the gravel. Fortunately I didn't hit anything and there was no damage to the car, but it was a real shame because I was well placed and I think we could have had a strong finish in the points.

Tell us about the Sepang circuit and what it's like to race there...

It's a very wide and open track which offers several good overtaking opportunities and usually produces close and competitive racing. There are two long straights where our KERS should make a difference and help us to overtake. In terms of the hot temperatures, it is always a very physical race for the drivers as well as the team, but I've been training hard over the winter to prepare for the season and so the heat and humidity should not be too much of an issue.

How will you approach this weekend's race in Malaysia?

I've already put Melbourne behind me and I'm fully focussed on coming back with a strong weekend in Sepang. We know we need to improve our performance, but we also learnt a lot about the R29 in Melbourne and we will use that information during free practice to try and find a better balance with the car. As a circuit Sepang will also give us a better idea of our competitiveness as it's a more conventional track than Melbourne and I'm looking forward to driving there.


~~Bob Bell: "I'm confident we can do a better job in Malaysia"

Bob, what was your verdict on the team's performance last weekend in Australia?

I don't think we lived up to the expectations that we set ourselves before Australia. We thought we would be more competitive than the performance we actually delivered, although I suspect part of that is due to the nature of the track. Albert Park is a circuit that didn't really suit the characteristics of the car and so we suspected we might be in for a difficult weekend. We now have to work to try and understand why that was the case and rectify it as best we can in time for Malaysia.

Were you surprised by how closely matched all the teams were? Could this be a result of the new 2009 regulations?

Yes, it was a surprise as there was a group of teams behind the Brawn cars that were particularly closely matched. That's surprising as we expected the new regulations to spread the pack out a little bit more, which is what normally happens following a change of regulations. Normally you only get such parity when the regulations have been in place for a year or so as it allows the teams to converge on the optimum design solutions. It's just surprising how close it was in Melbourne and it will be interesting to see if this continues in Sepang this weekend.

The team needs to improve its competitiveness, how can this be done?

I don't think we have a specific problem. I think that we need to lift our game in several areas to get more aero performance from the car. We've also got to get the balance of the car a bit more to the drivers' liking and work on the tuning of the KERS system to get more from it. So it's a question of maximising what we already have in all areas rather than a specific problem to resolve.

What are your expectations for Malaysia -- will the circuit suit the car?

The Sepang circuit is very smooth which should be more to our advantage compared with the bumpier surface that caused us problems in Melbourne. I also think the KERS system will be more of a benefit in Malaysia as the circuit has a couple of long straights and so I'm confident we can do a better job this weekend. With Australia and Malaysia being back-to-back races, we won't be able to introduce any new developments in such a short space of time and so we need to concentrate on getting more performance out of our existing package.
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Postby Ed » Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:43 pm

2009 Malaysian Grand Prix Friday

The ING Renault F1 Team began its preparations for Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet completed their programmes in today's two free practice sessions in Sepang.

Fernando Alonso
Free practice 1: 12 laps, 1:37.395, P16
Run 1: 4 laps, hard (prime) tyres
Run 2: 4 laps, same hard tyres, change to rear suspension settings
Run 3: 3 laps, same hard tyres, change to aero settings

Free Practice 2: 20 laps, 1:36.640, P15
Run 1: 4 laps, new hard tyres, new gear ratios
Run 2: 6 laps, same hard tyres, change to ride height front and rear
Run 3: 4 laps, new soft (option) tyres
Run 4: 6 laps, new soft tyres, new front suspension settings

Fernando: "We tried not to do too many laps today as I wasn't feeling one hundred percent. It's a very demanding weekend in terms of the heat because we sweat so much, but it was important that we still got enough information. I hope what we have learnt today will be useful for tomorrow and allow us to work on improving the set-up. Hopefully I will recover more this evening and feel better tomorrow so that I can give my maximum in qualifying, which I think will be one of the most important parts of this weekend, so we need to be ready for that."


Nelson Piquet
Free practice 1: 19 laps, 1:37.199, P14
Run 1: 7 laps, new hard tyres
Run 2: 8 laps, same hard tyres, change to front wing
Run 3: 3 laps, same hard tyres, change to rear suspension settings

Free Practice 2: 35 laps, 1:36.401, P10
Run 1, 12 laps, new hard tyres
Run 2, 12 laps, new soft tyres
Run 3, 5 laps, new soft tyres
Run 4: 6 laps, same soft tyres, change to suspension and front wing

Nelson: "We had a good first day with no major problems and so things look a bit better than they did in Melbourne. There is still a lot of work to do, but I'm happy we improved the car between the two sessions. It will be a tough race with these temperatures, but I look forward to it."


Technical Debrief with Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering

Track conditions: "The track was quite slippery this morning, probably due to the heavy rain yesterday."

Chassis balance: "The balance of the car is slightly better than we had in Australia, but we would still like to improve stability on the brakes."

Tyre performance: "The hard tyre here in Sepang has never been used before so it was a learning process for all of us, however the tyres seemed satisfactory."

Problems encountered: "Nelson went off this morning after a wheel failure and we are still investigating exactly what happened. Fernando's performance and programme today has been compromised by the fact that he isn't feeling well."

Outlook for the rest of the weekend: "For the rest of the weekend we have to improve our performance from Australia and early indications are that we can."

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Postby Ed » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:50 pm

2009 Malaysian Grand Prix Saturday

Today's qualifying session saw Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet qualify in 9th and 17th places respectively for tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix.

FREE PRACTICE 3

Fernando Alonso: 16 laps, P14, 1:37.004
Run 1: 6 laps, new hard tyres
Run 2: 6 laps, same hard tyres, change to rear suspension
Run 3: 3 laps, new soft tyres, return to original rear suspension setting

Nelson Piquet: 18 laps, P16, 1:37.032
Run 1: 5 laps, new hard tyres
Run 2: 7 laps, new hard tyres, change to aero settings
Run 3: 5 laps, new soft tyres, more downforce on front wing

QUALIFYING

Fernando Alonso P10 (starts P9), 1:37.659
Q1 2 runs on news soft tyres
Q2 2 runs on new soft tyres
Q3 1 run on used soft tyres

Fernando: "I had no temperature this morning so I was in better condition to drive the car. Our result today is a bit disappointing because I expected to be fifth or sixth in qualifying, but overall the car is better than in Australia, although we're not fast enough and need to improve. We will also have to see what role KERS will play in the race tomorrow."

Nelson Piquet, P17, 1:35.708
Q1 1 run on new hard tyres, 2 runs on new soft tyres

Nelson: "This morning we knew that it might be a difficult qualifying session. However it could have worked out better for me this afternoon, but on my final lap I pushed a bit too hard at the end of the lap and lost three or four tenths, which proved costly. I'm obviously disappointed that I couldn't get the most from qualifying, but I have to put this behind me and think about the race tomorrow."

Technical Summary with Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering

Track conditions: "It was a bit cooler as we were running later in the afternoon. The track temperature started at about 40˚C and dropped to about 36˚C, although the grip seemed reasonably constant throughout the sessions."

Performance summary: "It was tough to get into the final part of qualifying but we managed to do it with one car this weekend. The performance is not yet where we want it to be."

Strategy and fuel load: "We have decided to run with quite a high fuel load so that if the weather turns bad tomorrow we will have an advantage. Our strategy will depend on the weather."

Outlook for the race: "It is going to be very tough tomorrow. Even starting at 5pm will give us high temperatures and high humidity. If the rain comes it will be intense and produce very difficult conditions."

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Postby Ed » Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:50 pm

2009 Malaysian Grand Prix Sunday

It was a disappointing afternoon for the ING Renault F1 Team as both Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet ended a very wet Malaysian Grand Prix outside the points. A heavy rain storm at the mid-way point saw the safety car deployed before the race was eventually red-flagged on lap 32 and was not restarted.

Fernando Alonso, R2903, P11
First stint: 22 laps, soft dry tyres
Second stint: 6 laps, extreme wet tyres
Third stint: 2 laps, wet tyres
Fourth stint: 1 lap, extreme wet tyres

Fernando: "We made a good start from P9 to P3 and after that we had to defend our position because we were slow. This part of the race was interesting and it was difficult to decide what tyre to take when we made our stop because we didn't know how heavy the rain would be. We stay optimistic for the next race in Shanghai and we remain determined to continue fighting for the championship."

Nelson Piquet, R2901, P13
First stint: 22 laps, soft dry tyres
Second stint: 7 laps, extreme wet tyres
Third stint: 1 lap, wet tyres
Fourth stint: 1 lap, extreme wet tyres

Nelson: "Just before the red flag it was impossible to drive; really difficult to hold the car. We tried to call the right decision at the right time and there is nothing more we could have done in these conditions. The balance of the car was good, but the grip on the track was quite low, although we had a good start to the race. We have learnt a lot again this weekend and I now need to get ready for the next race."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering
"I suppose in many ways the heavy rain is no surprise to anyone who knows the area, but it brought some interesting elements to the race. In the early part of the race the value of the KERS system certainly showed, but as in Australia we still need to find performance from the car in other areas."

Remi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations
"Today we are disappointed. The race was challenging and we tried our best to adapt, but the weather was so difficult to predict. We knew it was going to rain, but we didn't think it would be so heavy. However, I didn't expect the race to be stopped. We now have to work hard, but I feel we have taken a step forward since Melbourne, as shown by our strong start to the race."

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Postby Ed » Tue Apr 14, 2009 8:18 pm

Chinese Grand Prix 2009 Preview

The ING Renault F1 Team reflects on the start of the season and looks ahead to this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai.

Fernando Alonso: "I believe in this team and we will fight back"

Fernando, a pretty eventful Malaysian Grand Prix for you. Tell us about your race...
I made an amazing start and was up to third from ninth after the first couple of corners, which showed the clear benefit of our KERS system. However, I was heavy with fuel and it was difficult to defend my position from the cars behind me. Then it started to rain and I went off the circuit before I could change to wet tyres. After that it was all about being on the right tyres at the right time, but it wasn't easy predicting how heavy the rain would be. It was definitely the right decision to stop the race as it would have been dangerous to try and continue in those conditions.

You've said the team needs to improve the car. Are you confident the team can do that?
Absolutely. I believe in this team and we saw last year that they know how to fight back and find performance from the car. It's still very early days and everyone in the team is working hard to develop the R29 so that we can be more competitive in the next few races. I was disappointed not to score points in Malaysia as my aim is to score points at every race this season. Obviously it's difficult to change the car until we get back to Europe, but we have learnt a lot from the first two races and we certainly made progress in Malaysia. We need to take another step forward in Shanghai and hopefully score points.

Are you looking forward to racing in Shanghai and what are your thoughts on the track?
It's definitely a circuit that I enjoy and it's quite similar to Sepang with some quick corners, long straights and low-speed sections. You therefore have to find a compromise with the set-up to make sure you have enough downforce for the high-speed sections, but also good straight-line speed. I won the race there in 2005 when Renault also won the constructors' championship so it's a track with good memories for the team. I also enjoy being in China and the fans are really enthusiastic about Formula 1.


Nelson Piquet: "I'm sure we will get stronger throughout the season"

Nelson, it was a chaotic race in Malaysia – sum up your race for us?
I had a good start and made up four positions, so things were looking quite good during the first stint, especially as I had a lot of fuel in the car. The car had a good balance in the dry, but then it rained and we had to pit early. The wet conditions were really bad and it was almost impossible to drive the car because of the poor visibility and aquaplaning. It was difficult to call the right strategy and the team did a good job, but races like that are always a lottery. It's a shame we couldn't restart the race, but the conditions were the worst I can remember at a Grand Prix.

After two races what is the mood like in the team?
The team is very motivated and determined to do a good job in China. We improved the car between Australia and Malaysia and we need to continue in this direction to try and get more from our package in China. I know the guys back at the factory are working really hard to prepare upgrades for later in the year and I'm sure we will continue to get stronger and stronger throughout the season.

You finished in the points in China last year as a rookie – what are your targets for this year's race?
After two races we've seen how close all the teams are, but I will still aim for the points this weekend. I need to make sure I improve my performance in qualifying so that I can reach Q2 or Q3 and have a good strategy for the race. We also need to see how the different tyres perform because Shanghai is quite a tough circuit for the tyres and we will need to do a lot of evaluation on Friday to make sure we are well prepared for the race.


Bob Bell: "The whole team is extremely motivated and working very hard to improve the car."

Bob, what was your verdict on the team's weekend in Malaysia?
It was clearly below par. We weren't running any new parts so it was basically the same car we had run in Melbourne and we saw a similar level of competitiveness. However, during winter testing we have seen a higher level of performance from the car and so we know there is more to come. It's just at the moment we're not extracting that performance from the car. I suspect there is something quite subtle and sensitive that we need to put right, but it's a case of understanding what that is and resolving the issue. There are definitely some changes we will make to the car for China to try and restore our performance to where we want to be, but it won't take us to the front of the field just yet.

Are you satisfied with the performance benefits of running KERS and will the team use it in China?
We haven't changed our fundamental view that our default position should be to run with KERS as opposed to without it. There are certainly circuits where running KERS is a distinct advantage and Malaysia was probably the first of those, although as the year unfolds there will be circuits where it may be debatable whether running KERS is an advantage or not. So we need to evaluate its merits on a race-by-race basis, but China is definitely a track where we should see a benefit. Overall the system is working well and it gives us the advantages we hoped for, such as making overtaking or defending a position easier, as well as clear benefits at the start of the race.

Tell us about the Shanghai International Circuit and the challenges it presents?
It's a modern circuit that's quite smooth with a mix of high and low-speed sections: long straights, tight chicanes and fast, sweeping corners. Any circuit like that presents a challenge for the engineers to find a set-up that works well across a wide range of corners and speeds. It's not a particularly demanding circuit on the brakes, but it can be quite hard on the tyres, especially the first corner with its constantly tightening radius. In terms of aero levels, we will run a fairly standard package, but the priority is to find a good balance between a low and high-speed set-up.

What is the team's mindset after two races?
The whole team is extremely motivated and working very hard to improve the car. We have some interesting projects going on back at the factory that will add performance to the car, both in the aero and mechanical domains. Everybody is very positive and up for the fight.


China: Tech File

The Shanghai International Circuit is one of the most impressive facilities on the Grand Prix calendar. Like most of the circuits designed by Hermann Tilke, it features a wide variety of corners, both fast and slow, as well as a long straight followed by a tight hairpin which provides an ideal overtaking opportunity. Technically the circuit is a challenge for the drivers and engineers, not least the never-ending first corner which almost takes the cars through a full circle.

Aerodynamics
As with many modern circuits, Shanghai includes a mixture of high-speed corners and long straights which means the level of aerodynamic downforce has to be judged very carefully to protect position on the straights, without compromising grip in the corners. Turns 7 and 8 make up two of the high-speed corners and lead into the tricky double lefthander of turns 9 and 10.

Fernando explains: "Turns 7 and 8 are a fun part of the lap and you can really feel the performance of the cars here as we take these corners in 6th gear and there is plenty of grip. On the exit of turn 8 you're straight into turn 9 where you have to be very precise as it's a corner where you can find a lot of time. We take it in third gear and accelerate hard on the exit so that turn 10 is taken flat. Get it right and it's a really rewarding section of the lap."

Suspension
In mechanical terms, it will be important to find the correct compromise that gives the driver confidence in the car's handling over the full race distance. Shanghai features a lot of braking from high speed, some fast corners and plenty of acceleration phases. Combined with a number of changes of direction at both high and low-speed, it means we generally run a stiffer, more reactive set-up at the front of the car – and then make the springing softer at the rear, for optimum traction and braking stability. In particular, we concentrate on making the car stable under heavy braking and on partial throttle openings, as the drivers often have to turn and brake/accelerate simultaneously, for example in turns 1 and 2 or turn 8.

Tyres
In general terms, Shanghai is a tough circuit for the tyres. Not only are the front tyres heavily loaded by corners such as turn 1 (left front), 7 (right front) and 8 (left front), but the numerous slow corners mean the rear tyres are worked hard under acceleration. Turn 1 in particular is a very challenging corner and demanding on the tyres because it tightens up as it progresses, as Fernando explains:

"You have to brake very deep into the corner, keeping the car on the limit and gradually lose enough speed to make it around and hit the apex. You need quite a neutral balance in the car as any oversteer will make it difficult through this first part of the lap and cost you time."

Turn 13 also deserves a special mention where the front left tyre is heavily loaded through this 270° corner, all the while accelerating and putting high lateral and longitudinal loads through the rear tyres.

In terms of compounds, Bridgestone will bring the medium and super-soft tyres to this event as was the case for the opening race of the season in Melbourne.

Engine Performance
Shanghai is not a particularly severe test for the engine with only 55% of the lap spent at full throttle. However, with a long back straight, good peak power is important as the approach to turn 14 offers the best overtaking opportunity of the lap. This will be a good opportunity to see the potential of the KERS-equipped cars, as Nelson explains:

"Turn 14 is easily the best place to overtake on the lap. We come off turn 13 which is a long right hander that can be taken flat-out and then hit the longest straight on the circuit where we reach well over 300 km/h. It can be difficult to follow a car closely through 13, but KERS should make it easier to get closer and pick up the slipstream. Braking for 14 is always tricky and you have to be careful not to outbrake yourself which can ruin you lap time and cost you a position."

Ed
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Postby Ed » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:02 pm

2009 Chinese Grand Prix

The ING Renault F1 Team completed a busy day of free practice in Shanghai in preparation for this weekend's Chinese Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso
Free practice 1: 19 laps, 1:38.089 on lap 5, P9
Run 1: 7 laps, hard tyres
Run 2: 5 laps, same hard tyres, change to weight distribution
Run 3: 6 laps, same hard tyres, change to weight distribution, change to front wing

Free Practice 2: 28 laps, 1:37.638 on lap 18, P19
Run 1: 5 laps, new set of hard tyres, new gear box ratios
Run 2: 6 laps, same set of hard tyres, change to front suspension
Run 3: 5 laps, same set of hard tyres, change to front suspension
Run 4: 7 laps, new set of soft tyres
Run 5: 5 laps, new set of soft tyres, change to front wing.

Fernando: "Although we are at the bottom of the timesheets, I don't think we should be too worried as we concentrated more on race configuration today. Tomorrow morning in the third free practice session we will be preparing for qualifying and so I think we can remain optimistic for the rest of the weekend. We need to try to reach Q3, as we did in Malaysia, and aim to score as many points as possible. I think overall today we struggled to find the right set-up, but even looking at the times, we still have high hopes for this weekend."

Nelson Piquet
Free practice 1: 20 laps, 1:38.825 on lap 19, P20
Run 1: 8 laps, hard tyres
Run 2: 7 laps, same set of hard tyres, new settings to rear springs and front wing
Run 3: 4 laps, same set of hard tyres, change to weight distribution

Free Practice 2: 36 laps, 1:37.273 on lap 34, P16
Run 1: 4 laps, set of used hard tyres, new gear box ratios
Run 2: 12 laps, new set of hard tyres
Run 3: 12 laps, new set of soft tyres
Run 4: 4 laps, same set of soft tyres, change to ride height front and rear, change to front wing
Run 5: 4 laps, new set of soft tyres

Nelson: "The track conditions were quite poor early on but later in the day things were a bit better. We improved the car between the two sessions, but we still need to find more performance and I'm still not totally happy with the set-up. So we still have a lot of work to do tomorrow morning to make sure we get the most from qualifying."

Technical Debrief with Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering

Track conditions: The track was a bit dusty this morning to start with, but it soon picked up.

Chassis balance: The car has a little bit of oversteer, but we worked on the balance of the car and made some improvements.

Tyre performance: The super-soft tyre is performing better than we expected. The medium tyre still remains the better race tyre.

Problems encountered: We haven't encountered any particular problems today.

Outlook for the rest of the weekend: Clearly there is work to do but we have more improvements to fit to the car tomorrow. So we are hopeful of moving up the order.

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Postby Ed » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:48 pm

2009 Chinese Grand Prix Saturday

Today's qualifying session saw Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet qualify in 2nd and 16th places respectively for tomorrow's Chinese Grand Prix.

FREE PRACTICE 3

Fernando Alonso: 6 laps, P19, 1:38.003 on lap 4
Run 1: 5 laps, new hard tyres, fitted with new diffuser. Problem with burning of the bodywork resolved in time for qualifying.

Nelson Piquet: 16 laps, P5, 1:36.464 on lap 15
Run 1: 7 laps, new hard tyres
Run 2: 4 laps, new hard tyres, change for front wing and front suspension
Run 3: 4 laps, new soft tyres, qualifying configuration

QUALIFYING

Fernando Alonso P2, 1:36.443
Q1 1 run on new hard tyres, 1 run on new soft tyres
Q2 2 runs on new soft tyres, change to front wing
Q3 1 run on used soft tyres, 1 run on new soft tyres

Fernando: "The car was quick this morning in P3, but we only had three laps to test the new parts we'd fitted to the car. This afternoon achieving the front row of the grid is a great motivation for the team. It is unbelievable and the first time that I've seen such an incredible effort. The team has been working 24 hours a day for the past few weeks to produce these parts and today it was time to deliver. So a big thanks to Enstone and to the engineers and mechanics here who didn't sleep much last night to get the car ready. Also, three Renault engines are in the top three so a big thanks to the engine team in Viry. We can be happy with today's result and we're looking forward to the race tomorrow and hopefully scoring some points."

Nelson Piquet, P17 (starts P16), 1:36.908
Q1 3 runs on new soft tyres

Nelson: "Obviously I didn't have the new parts that Fernando had, but it's still disappointing not to make it into Q2 as the car was working well this morning and we had made some improvements overnight. I know it will be a tough race tomorrow, but hopefully we can make the strategy work so that I can move forward in the race."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering
"Fernando's front row position is a tribute to the hard work from everyone back at the factory to get the new diffuser on the car following the result of our appeal earlier in the week. It's working as expected although we had some problems on the bodywork this morning as it burnt slightly, but once again the technicians here did a great job to get it fixed. Now we must get the same equipment for Nelson and give him the chance to move up the grid."

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Postby Ed » Sun Apr 19, 2009 10:48 pm

2009 Chinese Grand Prix Sunday

It was an afternoon of unrealised potential the ING Renault F1 Team as both Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet ended the Chinese Grand Prix outside the points. Wet conditions saw the race start under the safety car, which impacted on the team's strategy and meant the team spent the afternoon fighting through the field. Fernando's eventful race saw him finish in 9th while Nelson came home 16th.

Fernando Alonso, R2903, P9
First stint: 7 laps, wet tyres
Second stint: 28 laps, wet tyres
Third stint: 21 laps, wet tyres

Fernando: "It's a disappointing end to a weekend where we showed a lot of potential. The team have done a great job to improve the car, which was very competitive, especially yesterday when we qualified on the front row. However, today we were unlucky and I think it's one of those days when you take decisions at the wrong moment and everything seems to turn against you. We thought that the safety car would be out for the next 10 or 15 laps so we came in to get fuel and at the same time the safety car came in so we found ourselves starting the race last. We were on the first row on the grid and all of a sudden we were last so this was the end of our race. Bahrain will be another big test and then we have Barcelona so we need to keep improving."

Nelson Piquet, R2901, P16
First stint: 21 laps, wet tyres
Second stint: 7 laps, wet tyres
Third stint: 17 laps, wet tyres
Fourth stint: 11 laps, wet tyres

Nelson: "The conditions were so difficult today with really poor visibility and aquaplaning so just keeping the car on the track wasn't easy. I had a few moments during the race, but managed to keep the car going, although I lost a lot of time and dropped to the back of the pack. So it was a disappointing weekend, but I'm now looking forward to Bahrain where hopefully we will have a dry race and some developments on the car."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director
"This was not a normal race and it's a pity that we couldn't really see the potential of the car. The conditions were difficult and everyone seemed to struggle, except for the top three. Fernando has shown with his qualifying performance that the car is improving, but unfortunately we were penalised by the bad weather. The car is getting better and more competitive, and by Bahrain we will have new parts on both cars. Already this week we have seen a great effort by the team both here and back at the factory to get the new improvements on Fernando's car this weekend. The championship is long and I'm confident that from Bahrain things will get better for us."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering
"It is a disappointing result today. We took an aggressive strategy expecting the rain to start later in the afternoon. The early start of the rain compromised us and the safety car start even more so. We didn't make best use of what was available to us today."

Remi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations
"We have not finished the race where we wanted to based on the performance we showed yesterday. With rain you can never be sure what will happen, but those who were fast yesterday were the fastest today. I feel we deserved to finish fifth at least. It isn't a good result but we will take what we have learned to be stronger at next week's race"

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Postby Ed » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:08 pm

Bahrain Grand Prix 2009 Preview

The ING Renault F1 Team looks ahead to this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso: "I still believe we can fight for the championship"

Fernando, the team took a big step forward in China, but the luck didn't go your way on Sunday afternoon...
That's right. To come away with no points was a disappointing end to a really positive weekend where we showed a lot of potential. The new parts we added to the car gave us a big step forward and the team did a great job to get them to China and fitted on the car in time for qualifying. To qualify on the front row showed the progress we've made and it was a boost for the whole team. Unfortunately I started the race light on fuel and I made my first stop under the safety car, which pretty much ended my race as I went from the front row to the back of the pack. It was just one of those days when the decisions we took didn't go our way.

We head to Bahrain this weekend, a circuit where you've won in the past. Do you enjoy racing there?
Yes, it's a challenging circuit and I have some good memories of my wins there in 2005 and 2006 with Renault. Because of the circuit's location, it can get quite dusty and the conditions change from lap to lap so you need to be careful, but there are still some good overtaking opportunities, especially into turn 1 and turn 4. It's one of the most demanding circuits on the brakes with lots of big braking zones and so we will look at the wear rates on Friday to make sure we don't have any problems in the race.

What do you think is possible this weekend?
Hopefully we can repeat the performance we showed in China so that we can reach Q3 and fight for points in the race. It's still an early stage in the year and already the team has made incredible progress, which gives me the belief that we can still fight for the championship. We will have more updates when we get back to Europe, but at this stage in the year it's important that we score as many points as possible at each race so we can be in the fight at the end of the season.


Nelson Piquet: "I'm sure we will be more competitive in Bahrain"

Nelson, another wet race in China and another tough weekend for you and the team...
Yes, after the wet race in Malaysia I was hoping for a dry weekend in China, but then it started raining before the start so I knew it would be a difficult race. The visibility was really poor and the car was aquaplaning on the standing water which caught me out a couple of times and damaged the car. So it was a shame for the team to come away with nothing, but hopefully we can put the disappointment behind us and fight back in Bahrain where I should have some updates for my car.

Do you enjoy racing in Bahrain?
If I'm honest it's not one of my favourite circuits although there are exciting parts of the lap such as turns 5 and 6. However, the location means that the track surface is always pretty dusty, especially off-line and so you can't afford to make a mistake and run wide without losing a lot of time. It's also one of the hotter races of the year so it's quite physically demanding, although it's dry heat rather than the humidity you get in Malaysia.

What's your objective for the weekend?
I really need to make sure I qualify well so that I can pick a good strategy for the race. If we get the new parts on my car in time for this weekend then I think reaching Q3 will be possible, which will put me in a good position to score points in the race. The team is working hard to develop the car and I'm sure we will be more competitive in Bahrain where I will be ready to take any opportunity that comes my way.


Bob Bell: "I'm confident we can bring home points from Bahrain"

Bob, another wet race, can you sum up the team's performance in China?
We were very pleased with the basic performance of the car as we took a good step forward with the new diffuser that we fitted to Fernando's car. We're all very happy about that and the effort that went into producing it. Sadly we didn't bring home the result that we hoped for, but that is more to do with the strategic approach we had to adopt and how the race unfolded.

Did the new diffuser live up to your expectations and is there more to come?
It certainly lived up to expectations and gave us the gains we expected. There is more to come as the diffuser is a very new area of development and there will be a big push to continue its development over the next few months. We're also working on various upgrades to other parts of the car that we would normally work on at this time of year.

When will Nelson's car have the new diffuser?
Nelson will have the new diffuser in time for Bahrain. It simply wasn't possible to make two in time for China last weekend. I think that we did a great job to get one out to China.

The team took KERS off the car in China – will it return for Bahrain?
As we've already said, we will consider the merits of KERS on a race by race because it's not a system that is categorically quicker at every track. It depends on the nature of the circuit and we will continue to assess it on a race by race basis.

What can the team achieve in Bahrain?
I think we can be quite confident that we can repeat the sort of performance we showed in China during qualifying as we now have the basic pace in the car. And if we have a dry race, I'm confident that we can bring home the points from the race to match our qualifying performance.

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Postby Ed » Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:57 am

2009 Bahrain Grand Prix Friday - 24 APR 2009

The ING Renault F1 Team completed a busy day of practice in preparation for this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix.

Fernando Alonso, R29 03
Free practice 1: 24 laps, 1:35.348 on lap 22, P18
Run 1: 6 laps, hard tyres
Run 2: 9 laps, same set of hard tyres, change to suspension and front wing
Run 3: 8 laps, same set of hard tyres, change to rear suspension

Free Practice 2: 25 laps, 1:33.530 on lap 23, P2
Run 1: 5 laps, new set of hard tyres, new gear box ratios
Run 2: 9 laps, same set of hard tyres, change to rear suspension
Run 3: 3 laps, same set of hard tyres, change to aero
Run 4: 4 laps, new set of soft tyres
Run 5: 4 laps, new set of soft tyres, change to rear suspension

Fernando: "We had very hot track and ambient conditions today – even hotter than we had in Malaysia. We therefore concentrated on evaluating the brake cooling for race conditions and also compared the tyre compounds to make sure that the tyres work well in these temperatures. We're happy with the work we have done today and managed to complete our programme."


Nelson Piquet, R2901
Free practice 1: 20 laps, 1:34.974 on lap 8, P13
Run 1: 8 laps, hard tyres
Run 2: 7 laps, same set of hard tyres, change to weight distribution
Run 3: 5 laps, same set of hard tyres, change to weight distribution

Free Practice 2: 29 laps, 1:34.411 on lap 23, P15
Run 1: 4 laps, new set of hard tyres, new gear box ratios
Run 2: 13 laps, new set of soft tyres
Run 3: 6 laps, new set of soft tyres
Run 4: 5 laps, same set of soft tyres, change to rear suspension.

Nelson: "I've had a solid start to the weekend and ran with the new diffuser for the first time today, although it's difficult to know how much extra performance it gives the car. I think we still need to improve the car in the final practice session tomorrow, but we managed to get some good data today. I hope I can have a strong qualifying session tomorrow, but I think it will be tough to reach the top ten shootout."


Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering
"The Bahrain circuit is our first hard braking circuit of the year and ranks among the hardest for the total braking system. In view of this, we spent a lot more time today on heavier than normal fuel loads, concentrating on our set-up for Sunday. Later in the session, we seemed to get some competitive times out of the car. As always on a Friday, the timesheet is not a complete reflection of competitiveness, but we are confident that we have moved the car forward since the beginning of the year."

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Postby Ed » Wed May 06, 2009 10:02 pm

2009 Bahrain Grand Prix Saturday - 25 APR 2009

Today's qualifying session saw Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet qualify in 7th and 15th places respectively for tomorrow's Bahrain Grand Prix.

FREE PRACTICE 3

Fernando Alonso: 13 laps, P13, 1:33.482 on lap 11
Run 1: 4 laps, new hard tyres
Run 2: 4 laps, same set of hard tyres, change to suspension and front antiroll bar
Run 3: 4 laps, new soft tyres

Nelson Piquet: 19 laps, P6, 1:33.176 on lap 17
Run 1: 4 laps, new hard tyres
Run 2: 5 laps, new hard tyres
Run 3: 5 laps, new hard tyres
Run 4: 4 laps, new soft tyres, change to front wing


QUALIFYING

Fernando Alonso P7, 1:34.578
Q1: 1 run on new hard tyres, 1 run on new soft tyres
Q2: 2 runs on new soft tyres, change to front wing
Q3: 1 run on used soft tyres, 1 run on new soft tyres. Change to fuel level.

Fernando: "Once again we saw a very close qualifying session. It's difficult and stressful inside the cockpit, but I guess it's very interesting for the viewers. We haven't made many changes to the car since China, but the team has been working late into the night once again to give me a competitive car. Qualifying went more or less as we had expected and starting 7th is about what we imagined was possible. Tomorrow we need to do everything we can to finish in the points, aiming for the top six and maybe even higher."

Nelson Piquet, P15, 1:33.941
Q1: 1 run on new hard tyres, 2 runs on new soft tyres
Q2: 2 runs on new soft tyres

Nelson: "I pushed a bit too much to try to get into Q3. I had four cars around me and I really couldn't do much so I had to take some risks and pushed hard, but it wasn't good enough to go through to Q3. Hopefully we will have a strong start to the race and can adopt a good strategy so that I can challenge for the points, which is what we need right now."


Technical Debrief with Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering

Track conditions: We had very warm conditions today with ambient temperatures reaching 38˚C and track temperatures around 50˚C. Both cars and tyres where therefore tested severely.

Performance: Our performance today is mixed. Fernando's position in qualifying again reflects where we think our level of competitiveness is at the moment. But Nelson unfortunately made a mistake during his important lap in Q2 and is probably not showing everything he is capable of.

Race outlook: The race will be difficult tomorrow. The wind has already caused problems today and is forecast to be even stronger tomorrow. Strategically it will be important to look after the tyres, but I'm confident that we can have a strong points-scoring finish.

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Postby Ed » Wed May 06, 2009 10:03 pm

2009 Bahrain Grand Prix Sunday - 26 APR 2009

It was a hot afternoon in Sakhir as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet finished in 8th and 10th places in the Bahrain Grand Prix. Having picked up another point, the team is now 5th in the constructors' championship with 5 points. The team's attention now turns to the Spanish Grand Prix in two weeks time for the start of the European season.

Fernando Alonso, R2903, P8
First stint: 16 laps on soft tyres
Second stint: 21 laps on soft tyres
Third stint: 19 laps on hard tyres

Fernando: "We did our maximum today. The start of the race was not perfect and we lost a position which put me down to eighth. After that nothing unusual happened during the race and there were no retirements so we were eighth fastest and we finished eighth. We always aim to score points, but we only scored one point and so we need to improve at the next Grand Prix."

Nelson Piquet, R2901, P10
First stint: 23 laps on soft tyres
Second stint: 19 laps on soft tyres
Third stint: 14 laps on hard tyres

Nelson: "I had a strong race and the car was good. It would have been better if I could have made the first stint shorter and the second stint longer, but overall I'm happy with the day as we had a solid race, which is what we needed. Now we must to concentrate on improving our performance for the next race."

Flavio Briatore, Managing Director
"We had higher expectations for this weekend but sadly we have come away with only one point. Fernando did not have a good start and this compromised the rest of his race despite his best efforts. Nelson had an excellent race, moving up from 15th and driving aggressively and consistently. It's just a shame that he missed out on the points."

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering
"It was a very tough race today: the conditions were very hot and the race was intense all the way through the field. Fernando lost a lot of ground with a poor start and in such a tight field it was hard to recover from that, but our final position probably is a reflection of our competitiveness. Nelson had a good race today, consistently lapping close to Fernando's times, but for the upcoming races we need to improve the car to turn this sort of big effort from the whole team into solid points."

Remi Taffin, Head of Engine Operations
"Today we scored one point, but it's not a great reward for our efforts over the weekend. Everybody has worked really hard in the team and both drivers drove good races, but we only finished eighth and tenth. I think that our race was determined at the first corner where we lost a lot of ground and unfortunately that put us in a difficult situation. Nevertheless we are still moving in the right direction and that's good to see."

NOTE
Fernando Alonso's drinking pump failed during the race, leaving him without water for the duration of the race. He subsequently suffered from dehydration as he got out of the car. He has now fully recovered


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