Renault: 2009 Singapore Grand Prix preview 

Written by Nick on September 22nd, 2009 at 5:48 pmLast Update: September 22nd, 2009 at 5:48 pm

Q. Romain, you had a mixed weekend in Monza. Tell us what happened in the race… Romain Grosjean: “I was disappointed with my race because I couldn’t show the true potential of my car. I lost a lot of places at the start and had some contact in the first chicane, which damaged the car and made it very difficult to drive. My radio also broke which made things even harder. It was good to finish the race and gain more experience, but I had hoped for a better result.”

Q. Are you looking forward to racing in Singapore? Romain Grosjean: “Absolutely. I enjoy street circuits and the track layout looks interesting. I saw the race on television last year and thought the cars looked great under the lights. This will be my first ever night race and I’m really looking forward to it.”

Q. How do you prepare for a new circuit? Romain Grosjean: “I’ve been doing a lot of work with my engineers and I’ve watched some videos to try and learn the track as much as I can before I arrive there. I already know the layout from studying the map, but it’s only when you drive a lap and feel the grip that you start to understand the circuit.”

Q. What about your aims for the weekend? Romain Grosjean: “My aim is to put together a strong weekend to maximise practice, qualifying and the race. I will try and get close to Fernando in qualifying and hopefully race for some points.”

Q. Fernando, you had a strong weekend in Monza. Talk us through your race? Fernando Alonso: “Considering that I started eighth on the grid, I was happy to finish fifth, which was better than we predicted before the race. We used KERS all weekend, but I couldn’t make the most of it at the start so we lost some of the advantage going into the first corner. For the rest of the race the car had a good balance and my one-stop strategy worked well so we could score some important points.”

Q. The next race is in Singapore – what do you think of the track? Fernando Alonso: “I like it because it’s quite challenging and there are some interesting corners like the high-speed chicane at turn 10 where you have to carry a lot of speed and use the curbs. Overtaking isn’t easy in Singapore, but there are some opportunities.”

Q. How will the R29 perform this weekend? Fernando Alonso: “The car is working well at most circuits so I believe we are competitive enough to get close to the podium, which has to be my target this weekend.”

Q. And how are you preparing for the unusual timetable? Fernando Alonso: “Last year I decided it was better to remain on a European schedule rather than adjusting to local time so I will do the same this year as it’s the best way to manage my energy levels.”

Q. Bob, Fernando scored four points in Monza. How did you view his performance? Bob Bell: “I think the result showed the potential of the car and Fernando certainly got 100% out of it. We were fortunate to gain a few places in the race but overall I think that fifth place was a fair reflection of our competitiveness and brought us the sort of points that we should have scored in the last few races.”

Q. Romain has done three races now. How is he progressing? Bob Bell: “He has settled in very well and all of the engineers that have worked with him have been very impressed. He’s clearly quick and over the Monza weekend he was just two or three tenths off Fernando, which is what we would hope to see. He has been unfortunate that he hasn’t really had a clean race so we’re yet to judge his true race pace, but he’s clearly got a lot of potential.”

Q. We go from low downforce in Monza to high downforce in Singapore. Will the R29 adapt easily? Bob Bell: “As I’ve said previously, the R29 doesn’t have any specific weak points and delivers a similar level of performance with both high and low downforce. Its weakness is that it needs more overall performance in terms of grip through downforce and mechanical set-up. This weekend we will use a similar package to the one we used in Monaco, although we will incorporate the evolutions made since that race.”

Q. What challenges does the unusual schedule present to the team? Bob Bell: “Based on our experience last year, I would say that night racing has not caused too many difficulties for the team and the facilities and lighting in Singapore are excellent. We’re effectively working nightshifts in Singapore, but as a team we remain on UK time so it works quite well. The team keeps to the same schedule as at any other race, except that everything is shifted a few hours later in the day.”

Q. How is the team approaching the final four races of the season? Bob Bell: “We do have developments planned for some of the remaining races and they will come along in due course. There’s nothing major but they are sensible upgrades that are already in the production process. Our main development focus is now completely on the R30 and getting ready for 2010.”

source: Renault

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