Lotus Renault GP duo Vitaly Petrov and Bruno Senna go into the business end of the F1 2011 Japanese GP weekend confident of a top-ten performance after a strong showing during practice.
Renault bring with them a number of upgrades for the 15th round in the championship - consisting of a tighter bodywork configuration - and so far, after today's running, the team seem to be pleased with the results.
“We are much happier than in Singapore; the R31 looks stronger here,” said Renault's trackside operations director Alan Permane.
Permane, although encouraged with the results, conceded, however, that the outfit is in two minds whether to carry on using the upgrades.
“The new bodywork appears to allow adequate cooling and beneficial downforce gains however we are still analysing data to see if we will continue to use it,” he confirmed.
Both Senna and Petrov meanwhile seemed content with the upgrades, with Petrov finishing in the top ten in both sessions, while Senna's practice was hampered slightly with traffic and yellow flags leaving the Brazilian 11th and 14th.
“It was great to drive in Suzuka again because it's such a fantastic circuit. We spent the day working on the new tighter bodywork for my car, making a number of changes to try and find a suitable balance on the car,” said Senna.
“Both sessions were quite good for us without any significant mechanical problems meaning we could run through our programme as we wanted and everything went in a positive direction. We have some changes to make to improve the car but we have shown a good baseline so far here,” added Petrov.
“If we continue in the same vein tomorrow we should be well placed for Sunday,” summed-up the Russian.
by Simon Evans