The ING Renault F1 Team suffered a disappointing afternoon in Barcelona as both Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet retired from the Spanish Grand Prix.
After a promising performance in yesterday's qualifying session, the team started the race in good shape and Fernando raced competitively at the front of the field during the opening laps. But Nelson's early retirement set the tone for an afternoon of unrealised potential as the Brazilian was involved in a midfield collision on lap seven, causing damage to his R28.
As the race unfolded Fernando remained on course for a strong points finish, but trouble struck at half-distance with an engine problem forcing the Spaniard into retirement. The team will now regroup and look to build on the promise shown this weekend in two weeks time for the Turkish Grand Prix. . Fernando Alonso, DNF"This weekend has been both sweet and sour. The car was very competitive and we were up there with the Ferraris and the BMWs, which is a good first step. I think now we should hopefully start enjoying races again and racing closer to the front. Although I am disappointed not to finish, it was a nice surprise to see that we are more competitive than we thought we would be."
Nelson Piquet, DNF"I made my first mistake early on and went off the track, but I was able to rejoin down the field and from then on I tried to attack, which meant I had to take a few risks. I am disappointed, but there is no doubt that we have made a lot of progress this weekend. I must take what I can from this race, so that I do not make the same mistakes in the future. I am now looking forward to Turkey and doing my best there."
Flavio Briatore, Managing Director"It is disappointing to come away with nothing, especially after such a hopeful weekend. Nelson's race was spoiled when he ran wide at the beginning, but Fernando drove impeccably and in spite of the engine problem we have seen that the car is very competitive and we can look forward to the next race."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering "A weekend that had a lot of potential has slipped away from us. A fifth place with Fernando looked easy today and a good showing from Nelson would have backed this up. We don't yet know the cause of the engine failure on Fernando's car, but in spite of the disappointment of the final result, we take encouragement that our relative performance has moved up. There is still a lot to do, and we will continue to work hard to improve the car."