Renault Formula One Team Chief Race Engineer Alan Permane looks back on the Turkish Grand Prix. Both Robert Kubica and Vitaly Petrov had a strong weekend at Istanbul Park which resulted to another 8 points for the team.
Alan, it was another strong showing from the team in Turkey and eight more points thanks to Robert’s sixth place. Were you satisfied with the team’s performance? "Robert drove another great race and it’s good to pick up some more points, but we were a little disappointed not to get ahead of Mercedes because we seemed to be quicker. As we’ve seen in most of the races so far this year, the first stint leading up to the pit stops plays a pivotal role in determining the outcome of the race, so we were hoping Robert would jump ahead of Rosberg in the pits. We had a good pit stop, but unfortunately Mercedes were slightly quicker, and so we remained stuck behind Rosberg in the train of cars for the rest of the afternoon."
Mercedes have been the team’s closest competitors at most of the races this season. How do you judge the balance of power? "Our performance in Turkey suggests that our race pace is better than Mercedes, but they are just ahead of us on qualifying pace, and the same was true in Barcelona. When I spoke to Robert after the race he felt that Rosberg was holding him up and that he could have gone quite a bit quicker. So it’s down to us to make sure we do a better job in qualifying so that we can get ahead of them and exploit the full potential of our car."
Vitaly was on course for points until a puncture in the closing stages. How impressed were you by his performance? "He did an excellent job and it was a real shame to see him pick up a puncture during his fight with Alonso because he really deserved points after such a strong drive. It’s fair to say that the last few races have been tough for him with a couple of accidents that have put him on the back foot, so to have a weekend where everything came together will have done him the world of good. Seeing him fighting with the Ferraris and holding Fernando at bay for most of the race was great and should give him another confidence boost. It was by far his best race weekend this season and hopefully he can continue where he left off in Canada."
The team kept up its impressive development pace by bringing more new parts over the weekend. Were the drivers happy with the car? "The biggest update was new front wing which certainly brought the benefits we were expecting and the feedback from the drivers was positive. We managed to do a proper back-to-back assessment compared with the older version of the wing on Friday and the numbers we measured at the track confirmed our findings in the wind tunnel. Our strategy of bringing updates to every race so far this season has been one of our strengths and is a testament to all the effort that is going on back at the factory. In fact we already have another version of the front wing in the pipeline, which will be available in a few races time and should give us another step forward on downforce."
There seems to be real momentum with the team at the moment and a sense that the car will work well at every track. Is that a sentiment you share? "I think we do have a car that is adaptable and easy to drive. Obviously Monaco was a high point for us and it’s clear that the R30 is very well suited to those lower-speed circuits, but we’re working hard to ensure we are just as competitive on all types of circuit. We expect to continue our current level of competitiveness in Canada where we will have further upgrades to the car. We also have good upgrade packages planned for Valencia and Silverstone, which will hopefully allow us to move ahead of Mercedes."Source Renault