Renault hopes for more competitiveness at Spa
With drivers Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella starting seventh and fifteenth respectively, the team expected a tough race, but was hopeful that the drivers would be able to race strongly with the cars around them.
In race conditions, however, it soon became apparent that the competitiveness of the R27 in low-downforce Monza configuration was not sufficient to be able to do so and Heikki lost position to Nico Rosberg, although he still finished seventh thanks to the early retirement of Felipe Massa.
While Giancarlo Fisichella made up several places, there was little strategic room for manoeuvre among a group of midfield cars all running one-stop strategies, and was unable to get close to the points. The team now heads directly to Spa Francorchamps, which has very different aerodynamic requirements, where we will be hoping for a return to the level of relative competitiveness demonstrated at the last race in Turkey.
Heikki Kovalainen, 7th position
"I was on the limit every lap today, and we just didn't have the pace over the full race distance to make up any ground. I got a fantastic start, passed Kubica and was fighting with Heidfeld going into the Curva Grande, but he put me on the grass and I had to back off, which meant I lost a place to Kubica as well. After that, it was quite a lonely race. I passed Robert at the first stop, and kept him behind me for the middle stint, but we just didn't have enough pace to come out ahead of Rosberg after my last pit-stop. Everybody did a good job today, and there were no mistakes at all. But unfortunately, this was the maximum we could do."
Giancarlo Fisichella, 12th position
"I made a really good start, then got blocked out by several cars – and ended up losing position to Davidson because of it. Coulthard hit the back of my car on lap two I think, and it damaged the rear endplate on the left hand side. I also had understeer all through the race, so the balance wasn't perfect. In the first stint, I was losing time behind the Aguri, but it was only near to the pit-stops that I had enough extra pace to pass him into turn 1. After that, we all had pretty much the same strategy, and there was nothing much to do to gain positions. So we turned the engine right down, and looked after it because I have to use it again in Spa. Hopefully, things will go better for us there."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director "There is not much to say this afternoon. Monza is a unique circuit and other people did a better job than us when it came to finding the right package. But Heikki's performance showed where we are at the moment, still behind BMW and fighting against Rosberg, like at the last few races. The team did the maximum today, and there were no mistakes, which shows that people are still motivated and working hard."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering "Our level of competitiveness at this unique circuit was clearly not what we had wished for. Given our starting positions and how the race unfolded, salvaging a couple of points was perhaps as good as it was going to get today. Now we have to move on, and hope for a better weekend in Spa."