I have done so much blogging about that incident that I still haven’t got round to writing a full race review of Belgium yet, which I feel I should do. So that will have to wait until after the Italian Grand Prix.
In the meantime, I have just listened to the post-Belgium Renault podcast. As always, it was a great listen. Pat Symonds really is a joy to listen to. He is opinionated without being ranty, and he is usually forthright and honest in his opinions, even when it reflects badly on the Renault team.
I was interested in what he had to say about how the team decides when a driver should come in for a pitstop. It was reported immediately following the Belgian Grand Prix that Fernando Alonso was very frustrated with the Renault team. He claimed he wanted to switch to wet tyres earlier and that if he did he would have won the race.
I was therefore quite surprised to hear what Pat Symonds had to say about how the team decides when a driver should switch to wet tyres when it is beginning to rain.
…with what we had to deal with at the end of the Belgian Grand Prix [i.e. when a track is going from dry to wet conditions], we leave it entirely to the driver. He is the only guy who can really judge what it’s like. He’s the only one who knows if the car is aquaplaning, he’s the only one who knows whether he thinks he can keep it on the track and out of the barriers.
So if a car is on dry tyres and it’s raining and the driver feels he needs wet tyres, he comes in. He comes in as quickly as he can. He doesn’t even have to give us a complete warning. We have a system on the car whereby if he presses a button on the steering wheel it sends a signal to the pits. It’s superimposed over the TV picture that the mechanics are watching, saying which car’s coming in and how far away it is in seconds from the pitstop.
So [it was] Fernando’s decision there, and I think a very good one.