Renault's chief race engineer Alan Permane has explained more about how Robert Kubica missed out on a possible podium finish in the European Grand Prix.
The Pole was disappointed to have missed out on a third top three finish of the season in Valencia after losing time during his first pit-stop, which took place during the Safety Car period called after Mark Webber crashed out in dramatic fashion.
Kubica was the first driver able to dive into the pits but was the third man to leave, meaning he ultimately finished the race in fifth place, with the 25-year-old admitting afterwards he was disappointed to have missed out on at least third place [See separate story HERE
Permane has now explained more on how Kubica lost out during the pitstops by revealing that the team had already been prepared to welcome Vitaly Petrov in for his first scheduled stop before the deployment of the Safety Car led to a last minute decision to pit Kubica instead.
“We were quite unlucky with the timing of the Safety Car because when it came out we were preparing for Vitaly's scheduled stop and the mechanics were already in the pit lane with Vitaly's tyres,” he said. “The Safety Car was deployed just as Robert was approaching the final corner so we quickly called him in to try and take advantage, but obviously the mechanics had to rush back into the garage to get his tyres ready.
“That cost us a bit of time and delayed Robert's pit stop, which dropped us behind Button and Barrichello. However, it was certainly the right call to react quickly to the Safety Car because we moved ahead of both Ferraris so Robert remained in fifth place after the pit stops.
“If we hadn't been planning to stop Vitaly on that lap, then I'm sure we could have serviced Robert and stayed ahead of both Button and Barrichello, which would have given us a podium. Formula 1 is all about 'ifs' and 'buts' and you can always look back with the benefit of hindsight, but it was a shame that we lost out like that.”
Despite missing out on a podium finish, Permane said the team was pleased with the performance of upgrades fitted to the R30 for the weekend and was confident that its package would be even stronger at Silverstone.
“Everything performed as we expected it to and the new front wing and new blown floor worked very well,” he said. “It always takes time to fully understand any updates you put on the car, and it's difficult to do that in just one weekend, so we feel there is still more potential to come from them. In fact, we can probably expect to get more of an advantage from the updates at Silverstone, especially the blown floor because there are a lot more high-speed corners where you're on the throttle through the corners. We're confident of another strong showing there.”