Exclusive Q&A - Piquet confident about Renault future 23 Aug 2008
Saturdays qualifying session for the European Grand Prix will show which teams and drivers have done their homework better than the rest. With three practice sessions available to optimize the car before it gets serious, Renaults Nelson Piquet is convinced that he will be amongst those who have acclimatized to the Valencia track quickest. But Piquet isnt only certain he can rise to the challenge of the new street circuit, he is also confident that he will stay with Renault for 2009, despite the team's reluctance to confirm their plans until September
Q: What is your impression of the track?
Nelson Piquet: The conditions and the location of the track are very good. Its got a bit of the famous Monaco flair, but it is not very challenging, so I would say its a relatively easy circuit. It is quite easy to push and not so easy to make mistakes. The shape of the track - the combination of corners and straights - is even better than some original circuits. There were only some issues with the kerbs, to move them a little bit back, but other than that its in perfect condition. There are maybe only two points where you have to be careful and try not to hit the wall.
Q: So is the track to your liking?
NP: Well, I must say I really like the track and its quite fun to move the car around. The level of grip was understandably poor, but we are used to this sort of thing on street circuits. I will work with my engineers to further optimize the set-up so that we can have a good final free practice session and approach qualifying in good shape.
Q: At the end of last week Renault suggested that there will be a fixed date in September when they decide whether you will be with the team next year. Whats your feeling about that?
NP: I am really confidant that I will stay with the Renault team, because my impression is that the team is really happy with me. I work very well with all the engineers.
Q: How did your recent results contribute to that feeling?
NP: Well, any good result helps in these situations, especially when you are able to finish on the podium. I have been unlucky at some races and also have been in a bad shape at some others. But overall I have a very good feeling and I am not worried about not being with Renault next year.
Q: Do you think the team is concentrating on Fernando Alonso as the lead driver?
NP: Well, he has been around in F1 for several years, but in general both cars have the same chances. Maybe only if Fernando is positive about something and I am negative, then the team will go deeper into the issue. But it is a fact that any team would rather concentrate on the more experienced driver.
Q: So are you also talking to other teams?
NP: No, I am not.