Q & A with Renaults Bob Bell 19 Jul 2005
Going into this weekends German Grand Prix, Renault remain favourite to take both titles. But can the French team maintain the momentum that has brought them six victories and a further three podiums so far in 2005? Chassis technical director Bob Bell gave the teams press department his thoughts...
Q: Bob, we have passed the halfway mark of the season with the team leading both championships. What will the key to the second half?
Bob Bell: Consistency. Quite simply, finishing with both cars in the points is the bare minimum; but in reality, we have to get both cars on the podium. We need to keep Fernando (Alonso) winning races, and aim to do the same for Fisico (Giancarlo Fisichella) - and if he can't, get him home in the top three. Certainly, we cannot expect McLaren to continue their recent unreliability, so it is imperative that we do not drop points at any race. Two cars on the podium must be our target every time out.
Q: Speculation continues to surround how the team operates with its two drivers - what do you say to suggestions that Renault is favouring Fernando over Giancarlo?
BB: The answer is very clear: we do not give different equipment or treatment to our drivers. It is not in our interests to do so, and quite simply, we don't do it. Of course, at this stage in the year, we want to do everything we can to protect Fernando's position in the drivers' championship. But for the team - the 750 people working in Enstone and Viry - the constructors' championship is the more important of the two titles, both in terms of motivation but also the financial benefits it brings for the team. It is very important to win it, and to do so, you need two cars finishing well; it makes no sense to favour one driver over another. However, I am sure the fight in the constructors' title will go down to the last race - it is going to be very close.
Q: Giancarlo has encountered some problems at pit-stops in recent races: how are you working to solve them?
BB: In the event of a problem, we always assume that we can improve the job we are doing, or the tool we have given our drivers, in order to ensure that an incident does not recur. We work to address every potential source of difficulty - be that training the driver better, or improving our systems to make them more robust. Fernando has come very close to having similar problems to Giancarlo in race conditions, and we have encountered the issue on other occasions, so we worked during testing last week to make the car and engine easier for the drivers to use reliably in these critical' phases.
Q: We are entering the summer test ban - what impact will it have on development of the R25?
BB: The test ban can be a hindrance to development because it limits the items you can safely introduce at race weekends, as they must be low-risk items in terms of reliability. Having said that, by this stage of the year, most of our development work is focused on aero parts rather than major mechanical projects, so we should be able to maintain our gains through the period of the summer break. We will have new wing packages, engine cover updates and new bodywork details throughout the coming races.