A perfect start to the season for Renault Sport F1, with a pole position and win for the RS27 with partners Red Bull Racing. How did this race weekend go for the RSF1 team?
I think it went very smoothly and as planned for the team. We finished exactly on target, with a pole position and two out of the three podium positions with Red Bull Racing and Lotus Renault GP. The Renault RS27 engine performed very well and although it wasn’t easy throughout the weekend with the high level of competition, we achieved our aims and scored more points than any of the other engine manufacturers. It’s fair to say that everyone at Renault Sport F1 contributed to this result so thanks to all of them.
Sebastian Vettel won the race and Mark Webber also had a strong GP, coming home in fifth. Do you think Red Bull is looking as strong as last year already?
The Red Bull Renault partnership is very strong and is certainly building on the results of the previous years. Sebastian drove a perfect race and used the RS27 very well to easily win the first race of the year. Mark had a good race and it was unfortunate that he lost out in the last pit stop to Fernando. For sure there is more to come. If we look at the first race we know we are strong, but we know we will have to keep pushing on to stay ahead as the others will want to close that gap. There are a lot of competitive teams in the field today but all the elements are there for Red Bull to repeat this form in Malaysia.
Do you think there is more to come from the team and its partnership with Renault?
Yes, and it’s clear that we’re starting in really good shape this year. We need to keep on trying to stay ahead and get the best from the partnership. We will do our best for our partners.
And two Renault engines on the podium with Vitaly Petrov taking third position in the Lotus Renault GP car.
It was a very strong result for Vitaly and he and the team can be very proud of the result. It’s not easy to lose a team-mate in the off season but he has risen to the challenge very well and clearly did a very good job in the Grand Prix to score his best result so far, and bring Renault engines two of the three podium positions. He drove every lap like a qualifying lap and it shows just how good he can be and how strong the Lotus Renault and the RS27 package can be this year.
And Team Lotus achieved their first finish with the RS27, with Jarno Trulli finishing in 15th. How is this relationship developing?
We are very happy with the relationship with Team Lotus and are enjoying working together. It is clear it is going in the right direction and it’s obvious the steps that need to be taken on both our sides to get the team to where they want to be to achieve their goals. Unfortunately Heikki had to retire with a water leak, but the engine is OK for the next round in Malaysia. Jarno had a fairly trouble-free race and we were able to get an indication of the pace and how to build on this start in the coming races.
The RS27 performed reliably over the weekend and scored more points than any other engine in the field. Have you been encouraged by the performance this weekend?
For sure one race is not the end of an engine’s life and we know we have a long way to go yet, but the RS27 worked well within all of our partner team’s frameworks and proved we were well prepared over the winter. We will be able to reuse all the engines in Sepang again and all are in good shape as per our plan. We’ve been delighted with the entire weekend.