Do you feel the drivers are getting the most from the R29?
I think they are, especially now that we've introduced the twin diffuser because the car was quite sensitive and difficult to set-up with the more conventional diffuser. The car used to have a very small sweet spot in terms of set-up, which made it difficult for Fernando and Nelson to get the most from the car.
I do believe that this has improved since we've fitted the new diffuser, but it's still difficult to judge because we have been so limited with the amount of running we've done, especially in dry conditions.
How do you expect the R29 to perform in Barcelona, which is renowned as the definitive aero circuit?
We weren't particularly satisfied with our performance in Barcelona during winter testing and I think that was probably because our aero performance was significantly below that of the cars with twin diffusers. Now that we have hopefully improved our performance with our own new- style diffuser, we certainly hope that Barcelona will be a bit more favourable for us.
So, as much as Flavio cried, whined, threw tantrums, and played the media like a fiddle about these "bad" diffusors, Symonds comes out and says that the team has greatly benefitted from introducing them. Even going as far as saying that the car sucked (or had a very narrow "sweet-spot") but now that they have the DDD, the car is better and easier to setup.
Also, I think Pat may have shot all of the teams in the foot with this remark:
Can you update us on the team's development programme as the European season begins?
The whole team is still pushing hard with development and the diffuser and floor that we brought to China was very much a first attempt and over the course of the year we will see several more versions, the first of which we hope to have in Barcelona.
In addition, we've got new wheel fairings this weekend with quite a major design change to give us an increase in downforce and a new rear wing. On top of that we've got a few small aerodynamic tweaks that we will introduce on a race-by-race basis. Overall we can expect a reasonable step in performance for Barcelona.
He shouldn't have admitted that the fairings add downforce, because now he is saying that they are an aerodynamic device, not a part of the brake ducting. It was obvious that they would reduce drag, and I think that is why they were allowed in the first place, but saying that they add downforce when the "spirit of the rules" that Flavio was so keen to promote was intended to REDUCE downforce, it rather makes Flav look like a raving hypocrite.
Make no mistake, I really like Symonds. Anyone who thinks that the answer to making a better race series is to "Give the drivers more power than the chassis can handle" is number 1 in my book!
Symonds for FIA pres in 2009!