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Symonds hopeful Renault can challenge frontrunners 01 May 2008

(L to R): Pat Symonds (GBR) Renault Executive Director of Engineering with Flavio Briatore (ITA) Renault F1 Managing Director.
Malaysian Grand Prix, Rd 2, Qualifying Day, Sepang, Malaysia, Saturday, 22 March 2008 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R28 
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Spanish Grand Prix, Race Day, Barcelona, Spain, Sunday, 27 April 2008 Qualifying parc ferme (L to R): Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault, second; Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari, pole position; Felipe Massa (BRA) Ferrari, third.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Spanish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Barcelona, Spain, Saturday, 26 April 2008

Renault’s executive director of engineering Pat Symonds believes the team now have what it takes to extricate themselves from the midfield pack and challenge McLaren and BMW Sauber, despite recording a double DNF at last weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix.

With Fernando Alonso taking an excellent front-row grid slot and Nelson Piquet making it into Q3 for the first time, the French team’s R28 was a markedly improved car in Barcelona. And although a collision with Toro Rosso’s Sebastien Bourdais prematurely ended Piquet’s race and an engine failure forced Alonso to retire, Symonds is convinced the team is on the road to recovery.

“It’s unfulfilled potential and I think I’d rather have unfulfilled potential than no potential,” he said during a team podcast on Renault’s official website. “I hope it will pull us out of that midfield mire that we’ve been in this year. Then we can look at challenging McLaren and BMW further up.”

The former world champions applied several dramatic revisions to their car in Spain, including a new ‘shark-fin’ engine cover and a modified front bridge wing. And, according to Symonds, these developments, honed during the multi-team test session at the Circuit de Catalunya last month and successfully trialled during the Spanish race, should now benefit the team elsewhere.

“We have been working very hard to try to improve the competitiveness of the car,” he explained. “I’m pleased to say most of the stuff we had on the car was successful. They are not circuit specific and they will be on the car until such time as we find a better replacement. All of our new developments are transferable to Turkey and indeed there are a couple more reasonable ones coming.”

Renault will arrive in Istanbul early next week ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix on May 9-11. They are currently seventh in the constructors’ standings with six points.