Renault: Silverstone another missed opportunity 09 Jul 2008
Ferrari may have stolen the headlines with their poor choice of tyre at the British Grand Prix, but Renault were left equally disappointed after also making the wrong call on rubber for Fernando Alonso.
Starting sixth on the grid, Alonso was up to third by the time he made his first stop, during which he opted to stay on his worn standard wet-weather tyres rather than swapping to a fresh set. However, when track conditions failed to improve, the gamble backfired, ruining what had been a promising race strategy.
Had it not rained or the rain had eased off we would have looked like heroes probably, reflected Renaults sporting manager Steve Nielsen during a podcast on Renault's official website. Weve seen other people do it at other races and its worked well to stay on used wets, but it went against us and from then on it was damage limitation. Every lap we stayed out on those tyres was just a disaster.
It feels like the latest in a line of missed opportunities. Weve had several good points-scoring (chances) that have slipped through our fingers and Silverstone feels like another one of those.
Alan Permane, Renaults chief race engineer added: It was fifty/fifty whether it was going to rain again and we chose to gamble and it didnt pay off. And from then on the race was not over, but it was compromised. Obviously we then had that heavy rain and we elected to come in, change tyres again and fill fuel to the end, so youre already on a compromised strategy.
The strategic error meant Alonso struggled for pace in the closing stages of the race, losing places to Ferraris Kimi Raikkonen and McLarens Heikki Kovalainen and eventually finishing sixth, a lap down on the podium finishers.
Alonsos team mate Nelson Piquet did switch to a new set of standard wets at his first stop, but nonetheless spun off into retirement in the tricky conditions on lap 36.