Flavio Briatore Q&A - victory doesnt guarantee Alonso will stay 28 Sep 2008
The Singapore Grand Prix was Renaults race of the season. That much is clear. Not only was it the first night race in Formula One history, but it proved to be a thriller - with no end of suspense and drama. No one could have anticipated Fernando Alonso walking away with the winners trophy after starting 15th on the grid, but the Spaniard did it. We caught up with team principal, Flavio Briatore, to get his reaction to his teams first victory since 2006
Q: Flavio, it has been a long time since Fernando has been up there on the podium. How does it feel to be winning again?
Flavio Briatore: It was a fantastic race. It is awesome for the team and of course an incredible moment for Fernando. The car was very competitive all weekend long and I felt really sorry for Fernando for what had happened in Q2 when he lost his chance for a front row position on the grid, as we believed that he would make it on to the front row, or at least row two. So qualifying was a real disaster and we all didnt sleep too well because we felt that we had missed a great opportunity. But today was a different game. True, we have been a bit lucky with the safety car, but in the end results are made on the track and that is where we have been dominant today.
Q: After the first safety-car phase, when did you start to believe that a win was within reach today?
FB: In the beginning we did not exactly know where we were because we had problems with the computer so we told Fernando that he should go as quickly as possible until we knew exactly where we were. And that is what he did. In fact after the safety car left the circuit he was the quickest car on the track, so we felt that if nothing unforeseeable happens we could pocket the win.
Q: All weekend Fernando thought that he had a great car, that it suited him and that this race could be his chance for a podium
FB: There you have it: if you give the right car to Fernando then he does the job - and he did it!
Q: After the great performance in all three practice sessions and then the disappointing qualifying you said that it would take a miracle to win the race - but the miracle happened
FB: The miracle was thanks to Fernando and the team. We all worked very hard for that moment and understandably are very happy about the race result.
Q: Strategy-wise you took a real gamble with calling in Fernando so early for a tyre change. In hindsight - and considering what happened shortly after his pit stop with the safety-car phase - it was the right call
FB: The (super) soft tyres were a disaster for everybody - including us. It was impossible to overtake Nakajima so at that moment we took the risk to call Fernando in and send him out again with the right tyres - and the win is a result of that decision.
Q: The victory must be fantastic for the teams morale - but is it enough to keep Fernando for next year?
FB: Well, its not a victory that changes a situation. We have a good relationship with Fernando, we are talking together, and we will be happy with his decision. That is all that I can say for the moment.
Q: Today everything fell into place for you, but will it remain that way for the three remaining races?
FB: Lets wait and see. We are working very hard to keep that performance level but lets talk about today - tomorrow is another day.