The Renault F1 team talks to Fernando Alonso about his chances in next week’s Hungarian Grand Prix…
Fernando, despite scoring just two points in Germany, the R29 appears to have taken a step forwardâ€¦
We have definitely improved and the latest upgrades made us much more competitive. It’s just a shame that I lost out in the wet qualifying because starting down in 12th meant I was out of position and couldn’t show the true pace of the car in the first half of the race. When I did have some clean air, the car was really quick and I set the fastest time for 11 laps of the race so I think we had the potential to be on the podium. It’s always easy to say what might have been, but to come away with just two points was a bit disappointing.
The next race is in Budapest, the circuit where you won your first Grand Prix. Do you enjoy going back to where it all began?
The memories of my win in 2003 are very special as it was also Renault’s first victory since returning to Formula One and it gave the whole team a lot of motivation and self-belief. I always enjoy visiting Budapest as it’s a beautiful city, the people are friendly and there is usually a relaxed atmosphere in the paddock as everybody is looking forward to their summer holidays.
Tell us about the track and how you will set the car up?
It’s one of the slowest tracks of the season and you are almost constantly in a corner so the track is quite demanding mentally and physically, especially with the high temperatures. With so many low-speed corners you need a stable front end because if you understeer wide it will cost you a lot of time. Good traction and mechanical grip are also important to get a clean exit from the slow corners. Overtaking is really difficult and the only real opportunity is into turn one at the end of the main straight, so it’s important that we maximise our performance in qualifying so we can start the race well inside the top ten.