Piquet says Renault will fight on top

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Piquet says Renault will fight on top

Mensaje  A.X.P. el Mar Mar 03, 2009 12:56 pm

By Jonathan Noble - Monday, March 2nd 2009, 13:14 GMT


Nelson Piquet believes Renault are still on course to start the season among the front-running teams, despite a troubled start to their week's testing at Jerez in Spain.

The Brazilian ended the opening day of running in Jerez at the bottom of the timesheets - reigniting fears that the team may not have got on top of the problems that marred early running.

But despite disappointed with a stop-start day caused by numerous small reliability niggles, Piquet says their showing is not indicative of the team's state of readiness for the season ahead.

And he says that there is every reason for the team to feel confident that what they have in the pipeline for the first race of the season will put them in good stead compared to their opposition.

"We are not chasing anybody; we are trying to do our job," said Piquet about Renault's form compared to their rivals. "We will only know who is where, who is quick, and who is not quick in Australia.

"Until then everybody is going to be running KERS and not running KERS, we never know fuel loads and aero updates; everyone will be at different levels until there. So to be honest at the moment we have to work on our issues and work on our set-up. We look at the screen and we look at the times but it is not something that is going to worry us.

"We know that some teams have a lot of downforce already now, and they don't have much more for Australia. We know some teams have much more for Australia. So I am not too worried about that. I think if we resolve our problems, the factory has quite a few updates to put on the car and the car should be a lot better in Australia."

Piquet claims the R29 has improved dramatically since its first test, with plenty more speed to come from the car as the team get more comfortable with it.

"I think we are now in the transition between working on the set-up and working on issues on the car," he said. "So slowly, the car already is a different story compared to the last time I drove here.

"It is much better and there is still another big step that needs to be gained and learned on tyre degradation and stuff like that. Still the traction is not optimum. I think we can still get much better on it."

Piquet thinks there is very little to choose between teams at the moment, and reckons that even Red Bull Racing's stunning form in early testing may not provide a guarantee that the Milton Keynes-based team are on course to upset the established outfits.

"You look at the screen and you think that Red Bull Racing are really quick," he said. "But you know that McLaren and Ferrari are going to be quick because they are two top teams with the best budgets and the most people working on the car.

"But I don't think we are going to be far off, if not fighting with them. I am really sure we will start the season in a much better situation than we started last year."

He added: "For sure, I think it is going to be all quite tight. It is difficult to say as everyone looks quite good. Williams look good, Red Bull look amazing – and Toro Rosso if it follows a similar car to Red Bull and they don't have any problems they will be strong as well.

"So it is all very difficult to say at the moment. I am sure the big teams like Ferrari and McLaren will be there, and then there will be a big fight between BMW, us and the other teams."

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