Bob Bell Q&A: Renault confident of better Silverstone result 15 Jun 2009
Renault came away empty-handed from the last round in Istanbul. However, with high-speed Silverstone expected to suit the R29 and with a number of revisions due to be introduced on the car, technical director Bob Bell is expecting Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet to have a better time of things at this weekends British Grand Prix
Q: Bob, the team endured a tough weekend in Turkey. Was the result a fair reflection of the team's competitiveness?
Bob Bell: I don't feel it was a completely true picture of where we are at the moment. Fernando had some issues in qualifying with tyre warm-up and didn't get the perfect lap which hurt his grid position.
Had he started higher up, he probably could have avoided some of the traffic after his first pit-stop and scored some points. With Nelson also having problems in qualifying, it was always going to be a tough race for him, but he still pushed hard and got as much out of the car as he could.
Q: Both Fernando and Nelson have urged the team to improve the car - can you react quickly?
BB: Yes, we are reacting and one of the things that we've done well this year is to get the new developments on the car as quickly as possible. The twin-diffuser was a good example of that as such components normally take up to fifteen weeks to introduce, but we cut that down to five weeks, which was a tremendous credit to the team. We will continue to react quickly and when we find a development that brings the desired result, we will do everything in our power to get it on the car as soon as possible.
Q: Looking ahead to Silverstone - is the high-speed layout likely to suit the R29?
BB: We've got reasonably high expectations for Silverstone, although we're remaining realistic because we know we're not suddenly going to be fighting for the podium. The high-speed nature of the track should suit us and the R29 will work well in the quick corners. Our braking performance is probably an area where we are losing out at the moment, but Silverstone is not especially demanding on the brakes and so we go there confident of delivering a better result than we did in Turkey.
Q: What developments are planned for Silverstone?
BB: We have a development to the diffuser, which is a reasonable step forward, as well as an upgrade to the front wing package. We explored some developments to the front wing in Turkey and will be running it again in Silverstone with further enhancements that we believe will improve the car. We also have some mechanical changes, more to do with functionality than performance, but they're still important and should help us.
Q: Silverstone is the local track to Enstone - is it a special race for the team?
BB: It's a very special race for all the teams based in the UK as it's a focal point in the middle of the season. Usually a lot of staff from the team go to the race and there is always a special atmosphere which all the teams enjoy. We go to every race determined to do the best job we can, but we'd love to put on a good show in Silverstone.
Q: Can the team be back fighting for podiums by the end of the year?
BB: That's certainly our intention. If you look at our qualifying performance as a measure of car development pace, we have been improving steadily and the gap to the fastest car in Q2 has been falling consistently, just as it did last year. This year the gap to the leaders is falling at a higher rate and that gives us the belief that we can be back challenging for podiums by the end of the year.