- Singapore Grand Prix - qualifying
Renault has lost 1.8 seconds - Allison
James Allison says Renault has lost 1.8 seconds in pace since Spa, after it qualified 15th and 18th on the grid for the Singapore Grand Prix.
The first qualifying session was a battle between Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov to avoid dropping out in 18th place. It was Senna who won that battle, and went on to qualify 15th, a full 4.5 seconds slower than Sebastian Vettel's pole time. Technical director Allison described the gap as "a yawning chasm" and said the different type of track did not suit Renault.
"Although we approached Singapore buoyed by recent good performances at Monza and Spa, this weekend has brought us back down to earth with a bang," Allison said. "Both the car crews and the drivers worked diligently to try to eke as much out of the cars as they could, but four seconds per lap is, unfortunately, a yawning chasm that cannot be crossed with springs, roll bars and ride heights.
"Monaco, Hungary and now Singapore have shown clearly that we have a problem at circuits dominated by slow speed corners. From Spa, just two races ago and only a few rear wing settings different to Singapore, we have lost around 1.8sec/lap of competitiveness and around eight grid slots."
Senna said that the team had worked hard, and that he could have picked up another place or two on the grid if it wasn't for taking too much kerb on his flying lap.
"Today was a good effort by the team but unfortunately it was not enough," Senna said. "We made a good step forwards with the car this morning but it was not sufficient to get into Q3. I pushed very hard and made one mistake going over a kerb that made my rear tyres suffer a lot on the last seven corners - these kerbs are really something we need to steer clear of! All in all, I can be 90% satisfied with my lap, as it would have been hard to take much more out of the car - maybe another position or two, but not more. My 15th position is near where we deserve to be.
"I'm now looking forward to the race, which is going to be long and tiring. The worst thing here is the humidity. It's all sweat, sweat, sweat - you never cool down. Looking ahead, we took a step forwards in terms of tyre conservation, while the break wear does not seem to be a problem for us. It should be an interesting race tomorrow."