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Renault – 2011 Canadian GP preview

Nick Heidfeld, Renault
2010 Qualifying – n/a, 2010 Race – n/a

“Canada is not as unique as Monaco but it does still stand out in its own way. It has slow chicanes and fast straights, so it is going to be a different kind of drive than the last race. We tend to have fast straight line speed which should help us. I look forward to every race, but this is a very special one because I’ve finished second here before. The race itself is unique – Montreal is a big city and it must be the only venue in Formula One where the city lives and breathes the sport for that week. There are postcards and souvenirs everywhere, and the support really is fantastic. It’s not every day you come across an F1 venue where the whole city gets behind the race like Montreal does.”

Vitaly Petrov, Renault
2010 Qualifying – 14th, 2010 Race – 17th

“Physically I’m feeling fine with no problems. I’m feeling better than I was after the race in Monaco. My ankle is fine and I don’t see any problems for the race here in Canada. Last year was my first time at the track, so it’s not a circuit I know that well. It’s not an easy race because the tarmac is quite unusual and we had so much degradation there with Bridgestone. We hope that it will be a different story with Pirelli, but we are going to have to see because so far this year, the tyres have been a hot topic at every race. The track does have long straights, which will offer us a chance to show our quick straight line speed, but there are also slow corners so it will be important to brake well to help preserve the tyres – it’s a real balancing act here in Montreal. Above all, we must get to the finish line and score some good points because we know we can do it. We are well aware that our car is very quick so we need to minimise our mistakes and the results will come.”

Eric Boullier, Renault team principal
“Canada is a special case because it’s a low downforce track and a street circuit too. We expect Vitaly to perform stronger than last year because he has really stepped up to the plate so far this season. We’ve also got a better understanding of the Canadian Grand Prix now, after what we learnt when we were there last year, so I’m pretty sure both cars should be able to finish in the top eight.

“Canada is a massive asset for the sport because it is the one race in North America. The atmosphere and the fans are just amazing. A lot of races could only dream of having the attendance Canada has, and of getting such a great level of support. It really is magical to come back because of the tremendous level of support from everyone in the city.”

James Allison, Renault technical director
“The Circuit de Gilles Villeneuve is different from Monaco. It’s very power hungry and has relatively few corners. The corners we do see are comparably slow, with only one above 200 km/h. Most importantly, it’s the hardest circuit on the brakes we will visit all year. Montreal requires a medium-low level of downforce and this is the first circuit of the year to have this requirement. This means we will debut a new rear wing, and this will incorporate a new DRS which loses more drag when it is being utilised. In addition, we have a new front wing to complement the downforce levels of the rear and there will be various other refinements on the car, with particular emphasis on ensuring there is good airflow to assist with brake cooling.

“There are several high-speed straights into low-speed corners so the brakes receive repeated extreme use over the course of a lap. Canada is the most challenging circuit of the year from a brake wear point of view. Brake wear is largely a function of brake temperature, and so a lot of work must be done (using tools such as CFD (computational fluid dynamics), the wind tunnel and a brake dynamometer rig) to ensure adequate aerodynamic cooling of the disks and pads.

“A further complication is that our drivers prefer different brake materials from each other, which adds to our workload in terms of validating each solution to ensure that both drivers can apply the brakes in a carefree manner throughout the GP.”


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