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Renault technical director Allison on the R31’s form 28 Apr 2011

Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Lotus Renault GP R31.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 26 March 2011 James Allison (GBR) Lotus Renault GP Team Technical Director
Formula One Testing, Day 1, Valencia, Spain, Tuesday, 1 February 2011 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Lotus Renault GP celebrates his third position on the podium.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Race, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, 27 March 2011 Vitaly Petrov (RUS) Lotus Renault GP R31 with measuring device on front wheel.
Formula One Testing, Day 2, Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, 9 March 2011 Nick Heidfeld (GER) Lotus Renault GP celebrates his third position in parc ferme.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Race, Sepang, Malaysia, Sunday, 10 April 2011

Renault’s R31 has proved sufficiently fast to make the top ten in qualifying, and consistent and reliable enough to convert that into podiums come Sunday’s race. Does that mean the team’s technical chief James Allison is satisfied? Not completely…

Q: James, two podiums from the first three races for the R31. Overall, are you happy with the start to the season?
James Allison:
Overall I’m pleased. However I tend just to remember the last race and that wasn’t a very good one for us, so we’re looking to put that right in Istanbul.

Q: Looking back to China, what were the biggest challenges the team faced in what proved to be a frustrating weekend?
JA:
Much of what went wrong for us came from failing to qualify in the position that the car merited. Not getting the car through into Q3 meant that we had to fight an uphill battle in the race. Furthermore, we didn’t make quite such a good start as we had done during the previous two races and all of this combined with the result that we had to struggle through the race just to finish in the minor places.

Q: Three races in, have you been able to draw any conclusions of the car’s performance so far? What do you consider are its main strengths and weaknesses?
JA:
It’s sufficiently fast to be healthily-placed in the top ten in qualifying, which gives you half a chance come Sunday. The car also quite kind on its tyres and so it tends to run more strongly in races than it does in qualifying. I don’t want to tempt providence, but it has also been reasonably reliable so far.

Q: Can we expect any significant upgrades to the car for Turkey?
JA:
Yes, like all the teams we’ll be bringing some parts. There will be a different front wing, some modifications around the nose, updates to the air intake area of the car and some tweaks to the floor.

Q: How far in advance do you begin planning for such an upgrade package?
JA:
It depends on the component. Some simple upgrades are found in the tunnel in the days running up to the race, but most of the parts would have been conceived around six to eight weeks ago, would have run in the tunnel around four weeks ago and then been designed and made for the car in time for the Turkish Grand Prix.

Q: How do you think the car will fare at the Istanbul Park Circuit?
JA:
It’s a fairly regular type of track, not especially dissimilar to Malaysia and China, so I would hope that we can continue compete at a high level.

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