Nelson Piquet Q&A: out-qualifying Alonso the goal for Malaysia 02 Apr 2009
After a largely miserable debut year in 2008, Nelson Piquet wanted to get his second season at Renault underway in style at last weekends Australian Grand Prix. Unfortunately for Piquet his R29s brakes had other ideas and he retired from the race on Lap 24. All the same, the Brazilian is optimistic ahead of Sundays Sepang race that the Malaysian track will suit him, his car, and his KERS
Q: In Melbourne you had a problem with the brakes. Have you been able to start to look for a solution?
Nelson Piquet: Unfortunately not. We still do not know where the problem was. All of a sudden the brakes went long. Apart from that I had a very good race. In front of me there were some crashes, which I was able to avoid being involved in, and I was able to gain some places. Up to the point where my brakes started to suddenly fade, I was just trying to maintain my position.
Q: Is there any evidence that the pace of the car will be similar or even better this weekend in Malaysia?
NP: At the Malaysian track our car should be better, as it suits us better. Here we have less bumps and a more flowing track.
Q: How do you feel about the new technical regulations? Is it more pleasurable to race?
NP: It does not make much difference, except that the car is quicker, which we drivers like. This is in our nature. As for the engineers, it was already clear that the car would be quicker due to their simulations and estimations of the development, so this was no surprise. The overall driving style is the same, and as you can see, the car has not been slowed by three seconds or more.
Q: What about the development of the car going forward?
NP: We have a lot of space for improvement. At the moment the car is everywhere and very difficult to hold on the track. In terms of the development, we are in the same position as most of the other teams, and it will not be easy to outdo them in development. For sure, the engineers are working 24 hours each day in the factory looking for improvement. Also we have a limited budget and we need to spend the money in the right areas. We are not as big as some of the other teams.
Q: Do you think that if Renault adapted the R29s rear more in line with that of the Brawn GP cars, you could close the gap?
NP: Obviously yes, as all the teams always want to close the gap to the leading team. But I am not too worried about this issue, as I know the engineers are doing their best to do exactly that.
Q: What do you think about KERS, will it be more effective at the Sepang race?
NP: As there are some longer straights than in Melbourne, we might have a bit more of an advantage when overtaking.
Q: How are you finding the pressure?
NP: This is not easy to answer. The Melbourne track did not suit me so well, so this race will be a good showcase and test for myself. I want to qualify well, and if possible even ahead of Fernando (Alonso).
Q: Do you have any concerns about visibility here in Malaysia?
NP: The weather conditions are completely different here. Personally, I am not worried.