Renault engine chief confident ahead of San Marino
Three rounds into the 2004 Formula One season and Renault lie second in constructors world championship on 22 points, having out-performed both Williams and McLaren so far.
Though they failed to make the podium in Bahrain, the French squad again got both cars home in the points (Jarno Trulli fourth, Fernando Alonso sixth) and Engine Operations Manager Denis Chevrier believes their early season reliability mission has now been accomplished, as he explained to the teams press office:
Q: What was your assessment of events yesterday afternoon at the Bahraini Grand Prix?
Denis Chevrier: Personally, I thought the race put on a good show, and our two drivers certainly contributed to that! As we had hoped for, the race proved successful in terms of scoring more championship points. Both drivers put in remarkably good performances, and only some misfortune around the pit-stops, coupled with a small loss of car performance in the final stint, deprived us of a potential third place with Jarno. For Fernando, to climb from the back of the pack at the end of the first lap to 6th at the finish is eloquent enough in itself, but obviously once again leaves us regretting what might have been without his problems in qualifying.
Q: So overall, you are happy with the position at the moment?
DC: To be honest, I think the whole team is satisfied with where we are at the moment in terms of the championship, although we know that we could have perfomed better at the individual races. However, when you look at the big picture, it is difficult to complain. On the technical side, we have had no problems whatsoever, aside from Jarno's scare on Friday in Bahrain with a blocked fuel injector. Our aim for the first three races of the season was to achieve good reliability, and score points. We have emphatically done so, maintaining our 100% points-scoring record with another double points finish in Bahrain. To return to Europe in second place in the constructors' championship is an excellent position from which to build some momentum.
Q: And what do the next weeks hold for the team?
DC: Our objective over the winter was very clear for the initial phase of the season: take a reliable car to the first three races, make the best use of it, and then begin introducing steps on the performance side when we returned to Europe, without compromising our good work in terms of durability. We have evolutions scheduled for introduction at Imola, and there is every reason to hope we can continue moving forward in the races to come.