Renault expect points despite qualifying problems

2011 Chinese Grand Prix

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Shanghai, 2011

Vitaly Petrov, Renault, Shanghai, 2011

Renault expect to get both cars in the points tomorrow despite qualifying tenth and 16th.

Vitaly Petrov will start tenth having reached Q3, but being unable to set a further time because as his car stopped in Q2.

The team say a loss of air supply to the engine caused it to cut out. They do not believe the unit needs replacing.

Petrov’s problem brought out the red flags which compromised team mate Nick Heidfeld’s attempt to qualify.

Heidfeld said: “It?s quite frustrating to be starting from 16th because I don?t think it?s a fair reflection of our pace.

“We were always going to do one run on the soft tyres in Q2, but the red flag made the last few minutes on Q2 very busy.

“You really needed to be first in the queue at the end of the pit lane because there was not much time to get around and cross the line before the end of the session. I managed to do one final lap, but I was stuck in traffic and I couldn?t get a clean lap.”

Chief engineer Alan Permane explained Heidfeld’s strategy: “Nick?s time from Q1 suggested that it might be difficult for him to make it through to Q3. That?s why we wanted to run right at the end of Q2 to take advantage of the maximum track evolution.

“As it happened, Vitaly?s car brought out the red flags at exactly the wrong moment, and Nick then got caught up in the traffic in the busy rush at the end of Q2.”

However he expects the drivers to make up places in the race: “I think we can expect to see our pace being relatively better in the race, even compared to Vitaly?s good qualifying pace.

“We know our car is fast off the line; we?ve got very good straight-line speed and the R31 looks after its tyres well. There?s no reason why we can?t bring two cars home in the points.

“Our poor qualifying performance leaves us with more tyre options than we would normally have. We?ve effectively saved an extra set of soft tyres on each car, which are available for the race.”

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11 comments on Renault expect points despite qualifying problems

  1. bananarama (@bananarama) said on 16th April 2011, 11:53

    Good to hear Petrovs car isn’t severey damaged, a grid penalty would have been quite sad for them. Lets see how their starts go, the cars performance on primes wasn’t spectacular but they’l have enough fresh soft tyres left now and their straight line speed was very good all weekend, so I see both of them challenging for points.

    By the way, what tyres wil Petrov start on? Can they decide whatever they like?

  2. Santi said on 16th April 2011, 12:05

    So, no penalty for him? In the replay it was quite obvious, he had had a problem for at least 2-3 turns and he didn’t pull over.

    • bananarama (@bananarama) said on 16th April 2011, 12:11

      That was obvious, but the stop was quite sudden. Before the corner he was easily at 70kph and then all of a sudden it went down to 20, where he turned the wheel to the side but in that moment it already went to 0. You can only penalise him if you think that drivers shouldn’t attempt to bring a broken car home at all.

      • Bigbadderboom said on 16th April 2011, 13:31

        I kind of agree the stall looked quite abrubt. But when interviewed afterwards he said the car felt funny at turn 2. I would hope considering the nature of the circumstances he would admit that in hindsight he should have pulled off the grey stuff sooner. Maybe just inexperience!

  3. butterdori (@butterdori) said on 16th April 2011, 12:15

    I predict 6th and 10th for Petrov and Heidfeld respectively.

    I hope Petrov gets behind Massa at the start

  4. Fixy (@fixy) said on 16th April 2011, 12:57

    Both drivers should be higher up, especially Petrov. However, starting from the back, we could see nice overtakes on the outside like in Malaysia!

  5. MarcusAurelius (@marcusaurelius) said on 16th April 2011, 17:09

    The team say a loss of air supply to the engine caused it to cut out.

    This air supply, is it for the pneumatic valves?

    • Oliver said on 16th April 2011, 18:12

      Most likely, although the car did sound like it was gasping for air. But more likely the valves.

  6. wasiF1 (@wasif1) said on 17th April 2011, 2:57

    Renault have a good pace on the straight together with DRS & KERS they will do some overtaking today, finishing in the points won’t be a problem for the team.

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