Renault‘s difficult weekend in Singapore came to an end with a fifteenth place finish from Bruno Senna and seventeenth for Vitaly Petrov on a track where the team have struggled to make any kind of impression on the midfeld.
To compound the misery within the team, Petrov was beaten, fairly and squarely, by the Team Lotus car of Heikki Kovalainen in today’s race.
“It was a tough race,” said Senna. “My first lap was very good, but we then suffered from some very high tyre degradation. I was pushing hard to complete good lap times but we had to adjust the brake balance a lot to try and compensate for the rear tyre wear. When we put the soft tyres on they didn't have quite the same bite as the super softs. Then, when I came into the hairpin which is the slowest corner of the track, my wheels locked up and I hit the wall. This made my race very, very complicated firstly because of the time lost there and secondly because of the extra pit stop.
“It could have been a much better race for us, but we did what we could and we will now start to think about Japan, where hopefully we can bring out more of the potential of the R31.”
Petrov had KERS problems and tyre issues throughout the race, and is now just looking ahead to the remaining five grand prix of the season.
“Today we had a race to forget,” said the Russian. “First of all I had some problems with KERS shortly after the start, which cost me a few tenths each lap and made it difficult to overtake. Then, the tyres started to behave poorly; when cars started overlapping me, I had to slow down a little and the tyre pressure went down.
“We have to pull together and look at why the car isn't performing at circuits such as this. We haven't performed at our usual level today, but the final five venues are all places where the R31 should perform better.”
Team principal Eric Boullier described the performance in today’s race as ’embarrassing’ and a painful experience for the team.
“Coming to Singapore, we knew that we were in for a tough weekend,” he said. “The R31 was never suited to street circuits and there were very few reasons to hope this might change here. However, we never expected our performance to be so embarrassing. Seeing our cars so low in the classification today, clearly struggling for grip among blue flags, was a painful experience.
“In these conditions, it is difficult to draw any positive from the race apart from the flawless job made by the organisers of the Grand Prix, who have definitely produced one of the best venues on the calendar.
“We will all forget this race quickly and turn our focus to Suzuka, where the track's quick corners should make us smile again. Finally, I would like to wish Steve Nielsen, our Sporting Director, all the best for the future. Steve has been with the team for more than 10 years and today was his last race with us.”