Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Renault still smarting over Indian race result

2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Buddh International Circuit, 2011
Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Buddh International Circuit, 2011

Renault technical director James Allison says he’s “still fed up” over the team’s result in India – and expects a struggle in Abu Dhabi.

Renault missed out on points for the third time in four races in India. Allison said: “I am as fed up about it now as I was in the immediate aftermath of the race.

“In every session of the weekend it was clear that the car had sufficient pace for a good result on Sunday. Despite this, poor qualifying laps from both cars, Vitaly?s penalty from Korea, Bruno losing his KERS in the race and a few mistakes from both drivers led to us coming home empty-handed.”

He believes the R31 is not well-suited to the Yas Marina track where they will race this weekend: “Our car performs relatively better in high speed corners at tracks which place a fair burden on the front tyres.

“Yas Marina is biased towards lower speed corners which place a larger emphasis on rear tyre and traction performance.”

Vitaly Petrov also expressed reservations about the car’s performance on the track: “I am naturally inclined to say I don?t know if the circuit will suit our car.

“When we arrive and are able to observe how the tyres are working, we will know where we are placed relative to our rivals. I hope we show signs of speed, like we have at time during the past three races.

“The concern is we have not exploited the potential the car has shown at the crucial times. Of course, that is always the fine line between a successful outing on track or a less successful one. Overall, I am confident it can be a good race weekend.”

Petrov will return to the scene of his famous battle with Fernando Alonso last year. He said: “That was last year, that?s history.

“Yes, it was a good race for me as I made no mistakes and drove really well. Combining that with the circuit layout meant that Fernando was unable to overtake me, even though his car was much quicker.

“It must have been very hard for him being stuck behind me for so long, but honestly it was not that difficult for me to keep him behind me. That sounds quite blase I know!”

2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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20 comments on “Renault still smarting over Indian race result”

  1. I’m beginning to think that dropping Nick Heidfeld was a mistake. I think that Bruno Senna has underperformed since Monza. Renault are pretty safe in fifth overall; they’re not going to catch Mercedes short of scoring a one-two in Abu Dhabi and Brazil, and Force India are going to be defensive against Sauber and Toro Rosso. Maybe Renault should consider swapping Senna out for Romain Grosjean for the last two races, and running him against Petrov to assess him as a potential driver for 2012.

    1. I think that Bruno Senna has underperformed since Monza.

      If it hadn’t been for that one impressive qualifying session in Spa – which, due to the weather conditions, was no proof of his absolute pace – no-one would have thought that much of Bruno’s potential.

      1. Indeed. I think Senna has been riding a wave of good faith since then. It’s pretty embarrassing when the only reason why you out-qualified your team-mate when he takes a five-place grid penalty is because another driver set an identical time to the thousandth of the second before he did. If it weren’t for Alguersuari, Petrov would have made Q3 in India, and likely would have qualified in a position that would have put him ahead of Senna even after the penalty had been applied.

        1. Totally agree with you both. Out of the championship position battles, I want Heidfeld to cling on to his 10th place in the championship 2 points behind Petrov. I have little doubt that Nick would have certainly got a couple more points finishes despite the car if he was still in it. And wouldn’t have made that schoolboy into La Source in Spa.

    2. I don’t think that dropping NH was the smartest idea by Renault, as Senna has only scored 2 points since he started. However, the more experienced Petrov has only scored 2 points more than Senna in the same time period.

      Perhaps it’s the car. Or perhaps Petrov is approximately as poor as Senna…..

      1. I think its a bit unfair to compare Senna to Heidfeld as the car has clearly not been as good as it was early in the season. You can see this just by looking at Petrov’s results early in the year compared to more recent races.

        Also don’t forget that Senna was looking good for points early on in the Indian Gp & was showing some good pace untill his KERS failed.
        This made him a sitting duck on the straght when the cars behind had both KERS & DRS & this cost him some spots.

        The Renault engineer’s (As well as many others who have worked with him) rate Bruno highly, They have far more data than we do so I’ll take there comments over people who only see what is shown on TV.

        Bruno is doing a good job in a car thats lost performance, He’s matching his team mate’s pace & this is all that can realistically be expected given where the car seems to be right now.

        1. Agreed, Dave. Also, watching lap times, even without the use of KERS, during several laps toward the end of the race, Senna was actually matching Hamilton’s pace, and had the Renault team not bizarrely held off switching to the hard tyres until the final 5 laps (still scratching my head over that one), he very likely would’ve scored at least a point or two.

          1. There was a touch of sarcasm in my post. What I was indicating was that for all those saying that Senna is poor and implying that he is only there due to sponsorship, perhaps it should be considered that the wonderful Comrade Petrov hasn’t actually done much better. Indeed apart from his podium at the start of the season, he hasn’t done much…

    3. nick’s results before being fired (not including 2 races he was taken out and the one engine failure)

      8, 10, 8, 8, 7,

      bearing in mind it was the 4th fastest car what more did they want?

  2. In 1-2 weeks Renault should confirm Kubica as a driver for 2012.
    Dunno if he starts 2012 season at first race or jumps in the middle but this is quite sure thing that renault is going to confirm him soon for next season.

    1. It’s not a case of just “confirming” him. They need to assess him, to make sure he is fit to race. The big concern is that although his arm will heal, he won’t have a full range of movements in it. And if that happens, he won’t be able to race.

      1. With Grosjean driving on Fridays at Abu Dhabi and Brazil, Kubica’s time to be tested will come only after the end of the season. Also he should take his recovery step-by-step, obviously not jump in an F1 car straight away.

    2. What’s your source?

      Kubica’s health and readiness is still suspect, and he may not even be ready to race yet.

      1. I don’t think he actually has a source, @journeyer – I think he’s just offering an opinion, that Renault should confirm Kubica within a week or two if he is fit to race, because otherwise they will have left it too late.

  3. Hm, so the car was ok but both drivers messed up, made mistakes and that added to technical problems to have them fail to get a good result? Sounds like putting pressure on both to come up with something good for next year to me (budget).

    I think Renault have really been lost ever since losing Kubica. Heidfeld probably helped tie a few strings together, but he is not an inspiring leader. Senna is not stunningly good, but then again, what did Renault have to lose from giving him a try, as their car really is up for maybe the odd point right now.
    Fact is, FI is still solid with a good car and constant trickle of developments, Sauber has got back some aim and STR is probably profiting from some of the experience of RBR to make those exhaust boost flows work to the maximum. Renault at the same time has no goal nor a technical figure or driver to push them forward.

  4. Why not confirm Petrov and Grsojean and put Kubica on the friday test day until he can show that his times are consistent with those of the top teams. Perhaps at mid season he could return full time and think of the benefit Grosjean would get form playing that role within the team for as long as it requires. Kubica could get back to terms with it as soon as he is ready whether it be six races or ten, and Grosjean could also benefit and really establish his merit. At the end of 2012 everyone would know where they stand. That combination of possiblities would make Lotus a better team for 2013 and whatever driver doesn’t make it could then be better placed with another team if needed.

  5. I honestly dont think Bruno Senna performs bad. I think he put on a couple of good performance. I agree in the last couple of races he did poor, and he wasn’t spectacularly good, but still I think he did well and settle well with the team. Obviously the R31 is not good and underdeveloped. Senna’s performance I will say is quite decent, and matching Petrov most of the time.

    Don’t think Kubica will be back on time, probably need to wait until mid season 2012. I think the seats will be a battle between Petrov, Senna and Grosjean. Neither do I think Barrichello has a chance.

  6. That’s a great last comment from Petrov, love it!

    It’s difficult to pinpoint their bad form but I don’t think it’s just the drivers. Sure, they aren’t helping but they’re just doing very little damage limitation on the tracks that don’t suit them.

    1. Agree.
      The front exhaust seems to really hurted them, and they lack a driver with great experience to lead the team, which they had expected Heinfield to do that, but he failed.
      I have never thought Senna would be as good (experience wise) as Heinfield, but I believe with time he could bring something to the team and give them ‘sparks’, which he did in his first two appearance in Spa and Monza.

      and it seems Renault is the only team with a car who perform particularly bad in specific circuits. Ok, Torro Rosso performed particularly well in circuits with long straights, but in all circuits they are average. But for LRGP, the performance difference between ‘normal’ circuits and “slow corners” circuits are so big.

  7. Vitaly might not be able to keep Emperor Alonso behind this year, as LRGP have said the car isn’t very good when it comes to traction. And even if it was, the almighty lord would just DRS him.

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