October 3rd, 2011 (F1plus Team).- Team Lotus Renault is definitely looking forward the Japanese GP of this weekend. After a poor performance at Singapore, since that track does not go well with it R32 model, drivers, management and the team in general feel the need to show their value at Suzuka, a track that goes along better with its overall package.
Both Renault drivers hare their views and comments about the upcoming race.
Bruno Senna Interview
Having got three races under your belt, do you feel you are now on more of an even keel with the other drivers?
Bruno Senna: Not yet. Undoubtedly they (the other drivers) still have the upper hand because they have completed more races than me. So far, I’ve driven at three very different circuits so far in very different conditions, and Suzuka will be another of the traditional races where I have limited experience. I’m learning and catching-up with the other drivers on the grid, but they have a considerable amount more experience than I do, and greater knowledge about the tyres too.
The Japanese Grand Prix – word has it Suzuka’s one of your favourite circuits…
BS: You’re right; it’s one of my favorites. The blend of high and mid speed corners makes it a very stimulating track. It’s one of the classics that has changed very little since the start. I’m really looking forward to driving there, and I’m confident that I can put my name back on the points board for the team.
Is it a circuit that should suit the car better than Singapore?
BS: Yes, I’m convinced that will be the case. The low-speed nature of Singapore made it the worst circuit for us in terms of performance. That hurt us a little bit, but with the updates we have planned for Suzuka we should be strong there, and hopefully will be able to get both cars in the points again – that’s where we belong.
We are entering the closing stages of the season – what do you expect?
BS: My main objective is to add more points to my name. If we can still add to the car a little bit here and there, that will help. We need to stay ahead of the teams behind us, in particular Force India. If we can close the gap to Mercedes GP in fourth, that would be a real boost for the team but primarily we must hold on to fifth position and keep the opposition at bay.
Vitaly Petrov interview
How did you spend your time in between Singapore and Japan – did you go back to England?
Vitaly Petrov: Yes, I came back straight after the race. I went through my usual training routines, before returning to England to visit the factory, meet with my engineers and discuss what happened in Singapore. Of course, we have also been preparing for Suzuka and the engineers have given me some data from last year to look at, which should help stand me in good stead.
Are you excited about going to Suzuka, one of the classic tracks on the calendar?
VP: Suzuka may be a famous circuit but it’s also quite a tricky one. Everyone knows it well, and all motorsport fans love it. I’ve only been to Suzuka once before, but racing there really is quite special. The track tests drivers in every way possible; it is challenging and very, very fast. If you count the number of high-speed corners that are taken in fourth gear or above, there are more than any other circuit on the calendar. The first sector is incredible: the ‘s’ curves are like a rollercoaster, flipping the g-forces from side to side through very long corners, and it’s tough to keep the correct line, particularly because if you get one corner wrong, you really suffer in the other corners.
How do you expect to perform in Suzuka?
VP: I hope the car will be strong there. It’s important to have confidence in the high-speed corners because if your confidence is down you can lose a lot of lap time. There is a very small margin for error because there are very few run-off areas, so as soon as you make a mistake, you are in the gravel. Often, when you are outside the car you don’t realize that the drivers are making errors, because you see them put a wheel over the kerb and onto the run-off area, before they come straight back on track. But Suzuka doesn’t work like that - if you go off with one wheel, you don’t come back. It’s one of the most fearsome tracks, but when you get it right it gives you immense satisfaction.