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Q&A with Pat Symonds

NEWS STORY
18/08/2009

Pat, the team had a disappointing end to a promising weekend in Hungary. Give us your thoughts on the race?
Pat Symonds: We wanted to show the potential of the car and confirm the step forward we had made in Germany, and I think to an extent we managed to do that. It was great to get pole position, but it doesn't necessarily mean that you've got the fastest car and fuel-corrected it's true that the Red Bulls were faster. Even so, we were pleased with our performance and I believe our aggressive strategy with Fernando would have paid off in the race had we gone the distance, but it wasn't to be.

The performance of the R29 in Budapest confirmed the team's recent progress. Can the team maintain this rate of development?
PS: We can certainly push a lot more developments onto the R29 in the final part of the season and there is another big aero update for later in the year. We're also preparing the specific medium and low downforce configurations that are needed for Spa and Monza. How much more we do after that will depend how next year's car, the R30, is progressing and whether we can transfer what we learn from that onto the current car.

The team has changed its driver line-up this weekend with Romain Grosjean making his debut. What has impressed you most about him?
PS: I think Romain has a great racing ability and we've seen that demonstrated many times in GP2. He's certainly one of the best in the series at overtaking and with the reverse grids he has shown that he's good at fighting his way through the field. It will take him a while to settle into Formula One, but I'm sure that he will adapt well.

How has the team been helping Romain prepare for his first Grand Prix?
PS: In the past he would have done lots of testing miles, but that's not the way of modern Formula One with the ban on in-season testing. However, he has done several aero tests already this year and has spent a lot of time with the team at races attending briefings and debriefings to learn the way we work and the personalities of the team.

What are your expectations for this weekend's race?
PS: The R29 has shown recently that it's a good car in all types of corner and so I'm confident that we can be competitive in Valencia. Like any street course, it rewards brave and capable drivers and we've certainly got that in Fernando, who will have home advantage and massive support from the fans this weekend.

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