Monaco debrief with Renaults James Allison 17 May 2010
Sundays Monaco Grand Prix saw Renault score their second podium of 2010 following another stellar drive from Robert Kubica, allowing the team to narrow the gap to fourth place in the constructors championship. Technical director James Allison looks back on the Monte Carlo weekend and assesses the progress Renault have made since the start of the season
Q: The Renault team scored its second podium of the 2010 season in Monaco. Very few people would have bet on that at the start of the year. How does it feel?
James Allison: It feels very good and, of course, the nice thing about this podium is that we earned it by right. We had a podium earlier in the year, in Australia, but it came through a combination of unusual circumstances and a great drive by Robert. In Monaco, the car was competitive all weekend, and Robert was certainly quicker than Vettel in the race. It's a nice feeling.
Q: Although the R30 showed strong pace in Spain, it was one of the quickest cars in Monaco. Why?
JA: Barcelona and Monaco are two very different circuits. Monaco is a track where the driver can make a lot of difference and Robert, in particular, was on exceptional form over the weekend. While strong aerodynamic performance is always important, Monaco is a circuit where a good mechanical package can be a bigger performance factor than at other tracks and we believe the R30 to be particularly strong in this regard.
Q: The team also seems to be growing in confidence and self-belief with every race
JA: We're now six races into the season, and we've made steady progress with the car. Each race has seen an improvement in our fortunes. Even in Spain, where we had probably one of our worst finishes of the year, we could see that the basic pace of the car was a step up relative to the weekend before, and we could see that we were better relative to our competitors. For everyone at the factory putting in all the work, and everyone on the race team doing very long hours to deliver this improvement, it's very encouraging to see our competitiveness improving race by race.
Q: How much has the R30 improved since the first race in Bahrain?
JA: With the latest developments we brought to the car for the Monaco weekend, by around three quarters of a second per lap.
Q: Can you maintain the rate of development over the coming weeks and months?
JA: The short answer is 'yes'. We have brought a sizeable update to every race, including Monaco even though it was a back-to-back, and we expect to do the same at every event this year. Plus there are one or two projects in the pipeline that may bring us bigger steps, too.
Q: People are beginning to talk about the renaissance of the Renault team. Do you have the same feeling?
JA: We had a bad season last year, and we want to put it behind us just as fast as we can. I think we've made a good start on that, but we're still nowhere near where we need to be - as can be seen from the gap that still separates us from Red Bull at a more normal circuit. But we're certainly moving in the right direction, and hopefully we can live up to our own expectations, which are very high indeed.