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Q&A with Renault’s Bob Bell: Monza showed car has potential 24 Sep 2009

Bob Bell (GBR) Renault Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Race Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Sunday, 2 November 2008 Romain Grosjean (FRA) Renault R29.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, Friday, 11 September 2009 Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R29.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, Friday, 11 September 2009

After the recent upheaval at Renault, Bob Bell heads into this weekend’s Singapore Grand Prix with a new job title - that of team principal. Fernando Alonso’s fifth place at the last round in Italy was pretty representative of the team’s current form, but Bell believes they can still extract more pace from the R29 before the season is out…

Q: Bob, Fernando scored four points in Monza. How did you view his performance?
Bob Bell:
I think the result showed the potential of the car and Fernando certainly got 100 percent out of it. We were fortunate to gain a few places in the race but overall I think that fifth place was a fair reflection of our competitiveness and brought us the sort of points that we should have scored in the last few races.

Q: Romain Grosjean has done three races now. How is he progressing?
BB:
He has settled in very well and all of the engineers that have worked with him have been very impressed. He's clearly quick and over the Monza weekend he was just two or three tenths off Fernando, which is what we would hope to see. He has been unfortunate that he hasn't really had a clean race so we're yet to judge his true race pace, but he's clearly got a lot of potential.

Q: We go from low downforce in Monza to high downforce in Singapore. Will the R29 adapt easily?
BB:
As I've said previously, the R29 doesn't have any specific weak points and delivers a similar level of performance with both high and low downforce. Its weakness is that it needs more overall performance in terms of grip through downforce and mechanical set-up. This weekend we will use a similar package to the one we used in Monaco, although we will incorporate the evolutions made since that race.

Q: What challenges does the unusual schedule present to the team?
BB:
Based on our experience last year, I would say that night racing has not caused too many difficulties for the team and the facilities and lighting in Singapore are excellent. We're effectively working nightshifts in Singapore, but as a team we remain on UK time so it works quite well. The team keeps to the same schedule as at any other race, except that everything is shifted a few hours later in the day.

Q: How is the team approaching the final four races of the season?
BB:
We do have developments planned for some of the remaining races and they will come along in due course. There's nothing major but they are sensible upgrades that are already in the production process. Our main development focus is now completely on the R30 and getting ready for 2010.