Nothing sinister at Renault


Honesty is the best policy, or so they say. Since his comfortable win at the opening race of the season in Melbourne, Giancarlo Fisichella has experienced technical problems in the past four races, from a front wing failure in Malaysia through to the failed 'dolphin nose' on Sunday afternoon that cost him an almost-certain second-place finish.

From the outside, some commentators have begun to imagine sinister motives behind the series of unfortunate coincidences. Mutterings have emerged of unequal equipment or preferential treatment within the team, as Fernando Alonso has, in the same period, taken five straight podium finishes. So why have the failures been happening on Giancarlo's car?

"The important thing is that Renault is doing everything possible to give Fernando and I the best car possible," explains the Roman. "The problems have concentrated around my car, but that's not anybody's fault – it has been unfortunate, that's all. Everybody in the team is 100% behind me – nobody is pleased if the car fails."

Back at Enstone, the team is working hard to identify what caused the part to fail on Sunday. But the message from Technical Director was clear on Monday morning in the team's Oxfordshire base.

“In general, we have let Giancarlo down on the reliability of his car so far this year, and that is disappointing because it is not how this team goes racing," explained the engineer. "We have to make sure we get on top of our problems quickly, and we have been very critical of ourselves within the organisation to achieve that. Giancarlo drove a stunning race in Barcelona, and reinforced what we have always said about him: that he never gives up, and fights to the last lap. There is no question of preferential treatment, or different equipment for each driver – that is not how we do things at Renault."

The last word goes to Flavio Briatore, who recruited Fisi in 2004 to provide the team with the competitive drive it needs to succeed in mounting a season-long championship challenge. "We showed on Sunday that, as we have said all along, we let our drivers race each other – and treat them fairly. Besides, it is much more difficult for a team to make two different cars than two identical ones," explains the Italian. "When he had his problem, Giancarlo was running ahead of Fernando and deserved to finish second. He may have had some bad luck, but the way he fought back showed he can do great things. It already looks very promising for him in Monaco."

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Published: 11/05/2005
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