Belgian Grand Prix Notes


Rob Smedley, Head of Performance Engineering: "I am clearly disappointed with what has happened to Valtteri. As a team we have made a mistake, and on behalf of the team I am very sorry that we cost him what could have been a podium position. There will be an investigation into the processes in place to understand what happened fully, and to put in place a procedure to stop this happening again. The rest of our race was dictated by the lack of pace in the first stint and from then on we had to fight our way back. The big difference at this race was that there were five teams all with very similar race pace. Unfortunately though, because so many cars were close in performance, the result was dictated primarily by what happened in the first stint when we were struggling. After that we had the pace on the prime tyre and as a result still managed to finish with both cars in the points. We have gained on Ferrari and lost very few points to Red Bull which is positive considering the day we have had."
Felipe Massa: "It was a frustrating day for me. I struggled at the start and then the soft tyre in the first stint didn’t operate as well as it should have done so I lost a few positions. At this point we were fighting from behind but the medium worked well. I couldn’t overtake the Force India of Perez at the end as their straightline pace was good. It has been a difficult day but to still finish sixth is the main positive we will take away from the weekend."
Valtteri Bottas: "We haven’t got the result we were after today. The pitstop and the race pace are two areas that we need to investigate. We thought we would be stronger during the race but the soft tyre in the first stint didn’t work as well and put us in a difficult position. We have to make sure we bounce back well in Monza."

Renault Sport F1

Rémi Taffin, Director of Operations: "We have mixed feelings about the race. The power unit has on the whole performed well, matching the expectations we set down after the summer. The drivers were able to apply power efficiently and show better speed on the straights, which allowed them to fight on track. We saw this very well, with both Daniil and Max able to overtake several cars and score points. On the other hand, we have had two DNFs. Daniel’s car had a power shutdown, which we are still investigating, while with Carlos it appears to be an operational error. We will look at both in detail, but also continue to work with our teams to achieve their respective goals this season."

Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director: "Positives and negatives. We saw Renault-powered cars taking both Ferrari and Mercedes-powered ones down the straights and fighting for position through the corners. We also scored two points finishes at the most power sensitive track of the season. But we still had two DNFs, one of which cost a possible podium, which we need to fully understand. While there is room for improvement on reliability, on the performance front we are back in the fight for podiums and points with both teams."


Federico Gastaldi, Deputy Team Principal: "What an amazing job from Romain today and we all thank all the hard work of everyone at Enstone and here at the circuit in Belgium. It’s no secret that it’s been a tough season for us in some ways, but we certainly know how to pick our moments to bounce back. Our joy for Romain and the team is a little bittersweet because of the retirement for Pastor, who started his race ahead of Romain so could have finished equally strongly. We will do everything we can to get both cars in strong positions in Monza.”
Nick Chester, Technical Director: "That was quite a race from Romain and the team! We were buoyed after yesterday’s P4 qualifying performance then today he drove a fantastic measured race. He drove brilliantly and made all the correct decisions with some fabulous overtaking. He looked after the tyres when he needed to and pushed when he needed to. It was the perfect race from him. We haven’t looked at everything on Pastor’s car yet but we know there was a big excursion over the kerbs which appears to have caused some damage to the power box so a big shame as he should also have achieved a strong result here."

Romain Grosjean, P3, E23-04: “Today’s result is wonderful. It’s good for the team and for myself of course. Yesterday’s good qualifying result put a smile on my face but today was an unbelievable race. Everything came together when it mattered during those 43 laps. I drove with my heart today and pushed 100 % throughout the race. I did some great overtaking manoeuvers and was really pushing to catch up and hopefully overtake Sebastian Vettel – of course it was bad luck for him to have had the tyre issue at the end. We were really trying to go for the podium this afternoon and I felt very emotional during the last lap of the race! It’s a great feeling today.”
Pastor Maldonado, DNF, E23-03: “We had been doing a great job this weekend, especially yesterday. The car was feeling very good, very competitive and I had a good race start. We had an issue with the drive of the car which the team are investigating. I’m disappointed about the issue we had today but that’s racing sometimes. We are keeping focussed for the next race now and Romain has shown what is possible. I love Italy and Monza so I’ll be doing everything I can for a strong result there."

Force India

Vijay Mallya, Team Principal and Managing Director: “We leave Belgium with mixed feelings after what turned out to be a very eventful race. Sergio delivered a battling performance and extracted all he could from the VJM08. He was able to challenge for the podium positions at the start of the race and to finish with a fifth place, his best result of the year so far, confirmed the good pace he has shown all weekend. He didn't put a wheel wrong all day and was able to keep some very competitive rivals behind with an intelligent and defensive drive. There are many regrets about what could have been had Nico had a clean weekend. Unfortunately, he suffered a loss of power on the way to grid and we were unable to rectify the problem before the start. It’s something we will thoroughly investigate with Mercedes. It's a shame as he would have surely had a competitive race. The battle for fifth in the championship remains open and we're already looking forward to the next round at Monza to reclaim the position.”

Nico Hulkenberg: “It’s disappointing to finish your race before it’s even started, but sometimes these things happen in racing. On the way to the grid I just felt a loss of power. We tried to understand and fix the problem on the grid, but it came back during the formation lap. There were a few moments when the power returned, but it disappeared again just before the start and I had to retire. It’s a real shame because the car has been very quick this weekend and we had a good opportunity to score some important points.”

Sergio Perez: “Fifth place and ten points is a good result, but we just lacked the pace to really fight for the podium today. My start was very strong and I was close to taking the lead on lap one when I was alongside Lewis [Hamilton] after Eau Rouge. I settled into a good rhythm, but we had very high degradation on the soft tyres in the first two stints. It was a bit better on the medium, although we struggled in the middle sector with our low downforce set-up and that hurt my pace. We were racing some quick cars and it was hard to fight off Grosjean and Kvyat, so it’s clear we need to analyse our performance and see where we can improve. I’m already looking forward to the next race in Monza, which is another track where I think we can be competitive.”