Chevrier - plenty more potential in Renault V8 17 Jul 2006
Ferrari winning wasn't quite the script Renault had written for their home Grand Prix, but the team insist they are relishing the challenge of coming back even stronger at the next round in Hockenheim, as their head of trackside engine operations, Denis Chevrier, explained following Sundays race
Q: Arriving at the team's home race, 100 years after Renault won the first ever French Grand Prix, it seemed like the script had been written for a Renault win. How much of a disappointment was second place?
DC: We go to every race looking to win, so of course it's disappointing when you cannot. We felt we were very strongly placed after qualifying and that we would be able to make our consistency count in race conditions. But we are not over-dramatising things either: you have to finish second if you cannot win, and there is never a colossal difference between the two in terms of points. Strategically, it was an important second place.
Q: A points-system that rewards consistency must be a real help
DC: I think our view of the points system has turned around a little compared to earlier in the season! Back then, we were winning a lot of races but only edging away from Ferrari and Schumacher in the championships, and it was quite frustrating. But this weekend, with a performance deficit, it was certainly something that we benefited from, and we still have a very good gap in both championships.
Q: Ferrari have now won two races in a row - is this a definitive shift in the balance of power during this mid-season period?
DC: It is a close fight between the two teams, as it has been all year and will continue to be. There is no reason to panic - neither in terms of the championship situation, nor the technical status quo between the teams. Ferrari happen to have won two races in a row - but we dominated four in a row before that. There is no reason to think that the pendulum will not swing back in our favour in the coming weeks.
Q: What is the atmosphere like in the team at the moment?
DC: Excellent, as always. When you win, you cannot rest on your laurels celebrating it - it is quickly gone. The same is true when you lose, and our priority is to get on with our jobs and look to the next challenge. There is only one thing we can do: that's studying how we can make our car go even faster.
Q: Will there be a secret to regaining the upper hand?
DC: The next race we win will be down to only one thing: applying ourselves to the job in hand, which means gaining tenths of a second here, tenths there, and getting those improvements on the car as quickly as possible. Win or lose, it changes nothing in our approach: we have to carry on improving in order to take the fight to our rivals.
Q: Finally, the team has already said that the RS26-C engine will benefit from even more performance in Hockenheim. What's the plan?
DC: The C-specification engine was introduced as a new family of engines, which gave us a baseline for then developing the V8 even further. Fernando will have a one-race old unit in Hockenheim, Giancarlo a brand new one, but both drivers will benefit from performance upgrades for the next race. The engine is intrinsically capable of achieving greater performance, and by changing both the tuning and the way we run the engine, we will be able to unlock more of it from the next race onwards.