- “Jolyon Palmer, welcome to Bahrain. Twenty-five years old, GP2 champion in 2014, what’s the best thing about coming back to this track as a Formula One driver?”
I raced here in GP2 and it’s a track I have been successful on in the past. I won the last race I did there, then I also had a podium. I also drove in practice last year. The track is OK. There are a lot of straights so plenty of overtaking opportunities, so we will find out more about the car in this trim. There is a lot of track evolution as it is very sandy at the start of the weekend, and then the track gets more and more rubber down, so conditions change a lot. The weather is almost always sunny, but it can be quite windy, which can blow sand onto the track. The fact it’s a night race is pretty interesting as it’s still very dry. In terms of set up, practice 1 and 3 are hard as they are a lot hotter than the race but there is a lot we can do in procedural terms, such as aero tests. I will be more relaxed now I have one race under my belt, particularly as I finished all 58 laps. I feel much more comfortable after preseason testing and am looking forward to going to a track I know and have won at before.
- “Jolyon, how would you review your first race weekend as a Formula 1 driver?”
I really enjoyed it. Everything went very smoothly. I had a good qualifying and then maximized the car in the race. I was happy with the race; I had a good start and was wheel to wheel for quite a long time, scrapping hard – it was great fun. I wanted to get to the finish, and you always dream of stealing a point, but I just missed it with P11, which is really frustrating! But we can definitely build on this. In Australia we didn’t have any more pace in the car, but it was an encouraging start.
- “After your performance at Melbourne last week, the general opinion is that you are a calm and collected driver and you put out a solid drive. How have you found the team?”
I feel at home in the team. The team is operationally very good and we have more developments coming. The car is nicely balanced, the pace is good – all in all, it was a strong start, especially considering the takeover was completed just before Christmas. We have upgrades coming all the time and it should not be too long before we can fight for points consistently.
- “so Mr Muti, what does this comeback to the F1 for Renault as a brand mean in the long-term for Renault Bahrain and YK Almoayyed & Sons as a dealership?”
- Well, it is a solid business strategy that will ultimately contribute in seeing a larger volume of road cars. Motorsport is an opportunity for Renault to enhance the performance and technical developments of its road car range, but also to promote them to a massive following on a global footing.
- The brand awareness has been raised dramatically …it gives our customers the confidence …and as the exclusive dealership, we will start to enjoy improved returns in areas, such as brand awareness in a market like Bahrain with new and emerging media platforms.
- YK Almoayyed has been passionate about this brand since the early 1980’s and as a dealership who has a long-standing reputation in the market, this renewed association with F1 gives us the opportunity and the ambition necessary to deliver the progressive products .
- We embrace this new development the Renault passion’s in motorsport. It gives us genuine pride in the results of the past and an enthusiasm to do justice to them in the present day.
- “Back to you Jolyon… How did you feel coming back to racing after a year out?”
- It felt completely normal. The difference from GP2 to F1 is that there are bigger variables. People are on different tyres and strategies, so you have to work out whether you can realistically fight and keep position, but it was not a problem. I had some good battles and really enjoyed it.
- “You are seen in the new livery video getting out of the Renault Captur, this one right here. Have you driven one before?”
- Yes the Renault Captur is a great product. I’ve driven it and the great thing is as Mr Muti mentioned, Renault puts the same care and technology into their road cars that it puts into their cars on track. In fact, the name Renault Sport Formula One Team underscores the crossover between F1 and road cars and the importance the company places on this aspect.