Hungry for results - Q&A with Fred Vasseur

Renault Sport Formula One Team’s Team Principal Fred Vasseur knows what he wants heading to Budapest.

What’s the outlook looking to Hungary?
We made some good progress at the Silverstone test and we have two drivers who are highly motivated to deliver after an ultimately frustrating previous Grand Prix so there’s nothing to say we can’t do a good job.

Where is the team’s focus?
We have updates still to come for this season but it’s true that much of our development focus is on 2017. We had plenty of parts to bring performance to this year’s car at the Silverstone test and if it wasn’t for the weather we would have been running a lot more evaluations there. This year is all about developing the team, maintaining focus and getting all the details in place to be able to deliver once we have achieved the stronger performance that we’re all working towards. We are still fighting for every position on track at every race we attend. The positive thing is that even though the results are not coming at the moment, the team is still positive. Everyone is working hard and wanting to get to where we can deliver results. It is a team of racers both at Enstone and Viry. We will get where we need to be.

What was learnt at the test?
The British weather certainly wasn’t beneficial that’s for sure! Sergey Sirotkin did a good job in the car for us again even though he faced the majority of the rain at Silverstone. We were able to get more laps with Jolyon and even though we didn’t complete all the programmes and assessments we wanted we still got a good knowledge base from the test.

What happened with the car right at the end of the test?
The car caught fire. This looks to be the result of a hydraulic leak and we’re naturally investigating what happened. The fortunate thing is that the fire happened on the final in-lap of the day so we were able to complete all we could for that day. There was no issue for Jo and the fire was soon extinguished.

What were the lessons learnt at the British Grand Prix?
We didn’t have a good weekend in many regards. The pace was not fantastic and we had a few incidents during the race too. Our reliability was not where we wanted it to be and there was a mistake in a pit stop which proved damaging to our strategy too. We know the areas where we need to improve.

What happened in that Silverstone pit stop?
It was human error. As a team pit stops are conducted and practiced repeatedly but there is no pit crew that never makes mistakes. When you think about it, it’s is truly remarkable that it is possible to jack up a car, change four wheels and lower the car to depart in around two seconds. We are working all the time to make our stops quicker and we understand what went wrong in that isolated instance. We have changed the process to ensure the same mistake can’t happen again.

What’s the strategy for Esteban’s development?
Esteban drove for us in FP1 in Silverstone then he was kept busy by AMG Mercedes for two days of testing at Silverstone so we’ll be checking what he’s allowed to tell us about that experience! The plan is for him to drive again in FP1 in Hungary as part of his season-long programme.