Renault Looks To Overtake BMW Sauber
Topics: Renault, BMW-Sauber
June 26, 2007
Last year, Renault took the constructor’s title for the second straight year. After that season though when their ace driver Fernando Alonso jumped to McLaren after the Spaniard’s departure, Renault is yet to take a podium finish this season. But the team recently announced that they are making improvements and are looking to overtake the third-place BMW Sauber.
At the North American leg of the current season, Renault earned as many points as BMW Sauber did. Both teams took nine points at the two Grands Prix. For BMW Sauber, it came with the second place finish by Nick Heidfeld at the Canadian Grand Prix and Sebastian Vettel’s eighth place finish at the United States Grand Prix. For Renault, it came from Finnish Formula One rookie drover Heikki Kovalainen who placed fourth in Canada and fifth in the United States Grand Prix.
BMW Sauber though did not have the services of Pole Robert Kubica who was sidelined for the United States Grand Prix after his high-speed, 75-G accident in Canada. Nevertheless, Renault claims that they are improving and is in a position to catch up with BMW Sauber.
“I think it's indicative of the fact the tide is turning, we are very close to BMW now and racing them hard,” says Pat Symonds, the Renault engineering head. “Without a doubt we have upped our game and pulled out of the midfield bunch we were in, to stand on top of it, and there's still more to come.” Seven races in the current Formula One season is already over and there are ten races left.
“We take a lot of comfort from the fact that after a poor start to the year, we are pulling it back so rapidly,’ said Symonds. Renault’s season started with a fifth place finish for Italian Giancarlo Fisichella and a tenth place finish for Kovalainen. While Renault cars have not yet been forced to retire due to a malfunction, they are still lagging behind BMW Sauber. BMW has already four retirements this season including Kubica’s accident in Canada which would have definitely snapped a BMW timing belt.
“Other teams are not having a great season and not pulling it back as we are. There is plenty to be proud of in what we are doing,” continued Symonds. Other teams that have been underperforming is far are Williams, Toyota and Honda. Renault though is looking to break with the middle pack which saw Renault pitted against Williams and Toyota. With good performances at the Monaco, Canada, and United States Grands Prix, Renault is looking to increase their lead over Williams and close the gap between them and BMW.
Renault is currently fourth in the constructors’ championship standing with 25 points to their credit. The team is trailing BMW Sauber with 39 points, Ferrari with 71 points and McLaren already with 106 points. The team is looking to perform better at the upcoming French and British Grands Prix. “As we better understand the problems we have been suffering from, we are able to improve the car,” said Symonds. “There will be enhancements for France and Britain, and that's in addition to continuing the push with our normal development processes. There are a lot of new bits coming for the car, and you can be certain we will keep on fighting.”
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