Renault expect better form in Barcelona

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Renault say they expect to perform better at the Circuit de Catalunya for the Spanish Grand Prix this weekend than they did in pre-season testing at the track three months ago.

Chief race engineer Alan Permane explained the progress the team has made since then and the updates they will bring to the car at Barcelona:

It?s true that we didn?t look great during the Barcelona test and completed limited mileage, but the issues we had during the test were not circuit-specific and I?ve no concerns about going back there. Barcelona is one of those circuits where you pay a heavy penalty if you?re lacking aero efficiency, but we?ve added an enormous amount of downforce to the car since winter testing, so we shouldn?t be out of position.

We won?t run the same set-up we used during the test because the car has evolved since then and the races have taught us a lot about how to get the most from it.
Alan Permane

He said that although aerodynamic efficiency remains important at the Barcelona circuit, the addition of a chicane in the final sector three years ago has diminished it:

It?s certainly used to be the ultimate [aerodynamic] test, but since they slowed down the final sector, it?s not quite as aero-dependent as it used to be.

However, the first part of the lap remains very high-speed, and turns three and nine are quick, challenging corners where good aero performance counts. Even turns four, five and seven are relatively quick corners by the standards of most circuits and, if your car has aero deficiencies, there?s nowhere to hide.
Alan Permane

Many teams are bringing significant technical updates for their cars this weekend but Permane isn’t expecting a significant change in the running order.

But with Mercedes bringing a longer-wheelbase W01 to this race, Permane expects Renault may lose ground to them:

Mercedes may move away from us a little bit but we?ve got a new front wing and some other new aerodynamic parts that should help us make another step forward. It?s not the biggest update we?ve had this year, but it continues our approach of adding new parts at each race.

It will be very interesting to see how the situation shakes out between the different teams.
Alan Permane

He also paid tribute to Robert Kubica’s performances for the team so far this year:

His performances so far this year have been faultless and he?s squeezing every ounce of performance from the car on every lap.

Just as impressive is his work ethic and dedication outside the cockpit, which is the most I have seen from any driver. He spends an enormous amount of time with his engineers at the track going over data, doing video analysis, and just trying to improve the car in any way he can. Seeing such commitment is a big motivation for the entire team.
Alan Permane

Kubica is expecting an especially close fight at Barcelona:

A lot of the teams have big expectations for their new packages. We are not planning to bring any huge updates, but we will keep gradually improving the car, just like we did during the first four races. We have to wait and see how we compare with the others; maybe the order of the teams will be quite different compared to the start of the year.

It?s the sort of circuit that all the drivers and teams know back to front so I?m expecting a very tough battle. All the teams will be very well prepared and usually get close to their potential so it?s important that we maximise our performance so that we can fight for points in the race.
Robert Kubica

Meanwhile team mate Vitaly Petrov will have his first F1 race on a track where he has driven many times:

I?ve raced there many times in GP2 and we tested in Barcelona over the winter. It?s a circuit where all the teams will be well prepared and I expect the gaps between the cars to be very small.

We didn?t have a very good test there in February, but hopefully the weather and track conditions will be different for the race and that will give us a chance to do better. As a circuit, it?s technically very difficult and overtaking is almost impossible, which is why qualifying will be very important.
Vitaly Petrov

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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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29 comments on “Renault expect better form in Barcelona”

  1. kubica has really been outstanding this year. without much drama or even attention, he’s put his renault far ahead of where most think it should be.

    what is the correct pronunciation of his name? 2 bbc and 3 speed commentators each have their own version. i believe the spelling has changed too. wasn’t there a z in there somewhere?

    1. Funny on his last name… Wikipedia reckon it’s [ˈrɔbɛrt kuˈbitza]

      Make sense of that however you like!

    2. cue-bits-ah I believe is the correct pronunciation, but as you say everyone appears to have a different take. I have been very impressed with him this season so far, as I have every season since he first appeared in F1.

      1. But where’s the stress? I’ve heard it pronounced as KOO-bits-a, or cue-BITS-a. Who knows?

        1. i don’t think it really matters. as long as it’s distinct from koo-bicka!

        2. i hate it when people say it cubic-a!!!
          should be cu-BITZ-a

        3. I am Polish, so you can believe me.
          KOO-bits-a is the correct way to pronounce his name. For sure.

        4. In almost all Polish words (with a couple of exceptions, most likely foreign borrowings) accent falls on the second syllable from the end.

      2. On Dutch TV the presenter (Olaf Mol) pronounces it like “Kubika”, but he said he asked Robert about it and Robert told him, he does not care if it is said differently.
        Sounds like a pretty cool guy.

        Looks like Renault is actively working on keeping Kubica in the team.

    3. I’ve heard commentators call him koo-bi-cha. I’m sure he said he prefers Koo-bi-ka “cause it sounds faster” :S

    4. The correct pronunciation is Koo-bits-a. Hear Robert say it himself here:

      1. thanks for the link. Just listened to
        Jaime Alguersuari, he told that the worst pronunciation he ever heard was “Gay – Me”

        1. Carlos Santos
          6th May 2010, 14:52

          I’ve been listening some drivers too.
          I’m Portuguese and I’m sure that Tiago Monteiro’s record is fake, wrong pronunciation and isn’t his voice!
          Álvaro Parente is really him :)

  2. polishboy808
    4th May 2010, 13:43

    In Poland they pronounce it Koo-bitza itza pronounced like izza in pizza, only a slight polish accent thats hard too mimic. It really annoys me when they pronounce it Kubika (ive heard it before) or Kubicer (Hobbs from speed pronounces it that way)

    1. I tried to konvince my friends in the Netherlands to say it the right way, not completely succesfull.

      But he certainly gets Poland on the racing bandwagon. Great racer and nice guy (from what i have heard and read).

    2. I’d say the closest you can come with the English sound system is ‘Koobitsa’ – the beginning being like the middle sound in ‘school’ + the second half like ‘bits’ (as in bits ‘n’ pieces) + ‘ah’. The stress is on the least syllable, but stresses are fairly mild in Polish.

      He is doing well isn’t he? I seem to remember a fair bit of criticism directed his way on this very site just a few short months ago….

      1. *last syllable*

      2. “The stress is on the last syllable,”
        – OMG! FAIL.

        Maciek, you must’ve been being distracted while you were typing this. The accent does not fall on the last syllable. It falls – as in most words in Polish – on THE PENULTIMATE syllable:

        Get yourself together, mate :)

        1. Right right – apologies all around. I’ve been dealing in three languages for most of my life – yet ask me to identify the stressed syllable in a word or name a part of speech and everything goes off the rails. :P

          1. What are those three languages of yours?

  3. I’m sure everyone is expecting a better showing in Spain..

    1. FelipeBabyStayCool
      6th May 2010, 2:19

      ..or a betting shower

  4. Mildly off-topic…

    Barcelona is one of those circuits where you pay a heavy penalty if you’re lacking aero efficiency

    Perhaps if the teams did their winter testing somewhere else, we wouldn’t have such downforce-dependent cars and we’d get more overtaking… ;)

    1. polishboy808
      4th May 2010, 14:54

      Good idea, but even if they did it on a circuit that was less aerodynamically dependent, the rules would have to be changed to really improve overtaking.

  5. Keith, you should drop some lines about Kubica’s success from just two days ago.
    Robert Kubica won the 17th Rally Internazionale del Taro in the Trony International Rally Cup in the S1600 class.
    Robert won 9 out of 10 stages of the rally!

    1. So if Renault give him a championship winning car, he can then lead their ralley return as well!

      way to go man

  6. I picked Renault as the dark horse of the year and so far they sure delivered. Depending what you read and where Renault either expect or don’t expect better results in Spain. I’m sure they will do better then winter testing with all they learned from the car and upgrades since then. But that is a given and would be surprised if they didn’t but the only thing that counts is how they continue to progress against the other teams and with nothing but small updates they might not be able to continue to stay a head of Mercedes and Force India. After all isn’t that what counts how they can provide a better showing or continue stay ahead over the other teams from the last race not how much they improve since winter tests?

  7. Kubica looks to be doing an Alonso by extracting more than the car possibly has to offer. Mind you Petrov is not doing to badly either…

  8. Catalina ;)
    5th May 2010, 17:38

    I really hope he stays a bit more with Renault!, cos I don’t think Massa would leave Ferrari anytime soon.

    cheers for Rob :D

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