Renault's executive director of engineering Pat Symonds has said that they should definitely be 'best of the rest' this weekend in Japan after the 'big three' - Ferrari, McLaren and BMW Sauber.

Renault currently lies third in the constructors' championship, following McLaren's exclusion and while they have an eleven point cushion over Williams, their nearest rivals, Symonds knows that with three races to go they cannot afford to be complacent.

"The midfield group has clearly closed up over the last few races, which was to be expected, but I am confident that we still have the performance to lead that group," he stated.

"While our championship position is relatively comfortable, we cannot afford any slip-ups and especially if we have to deal with unpredictable conditions which are a distinct possibility.

"This has not been our best season, but the drivers and the team deserve great credit for their undiminished commitment.

"We will be aiming to finish on a high, with three strong, dynamic races in Japan, China and Brazil."

Asked about the teams' preparations for Fuji, Symonds added that with it being a new circuit they have done a lot of computer simulations in order to be as organised as possible for the event, not that it is 100 per cent reliable.

"As always, the major part of our work has involved completing detailed computer simulations. We have very good circuit maps, and extremely accurate software, but there are still unknown parameters to cope with: we don't know how the drivers can use the kerbs, for example, and we don't have detailed information about the grip level," he explained.

"This means we have to run many different simulations, with different estimated values, in order to be fully prepared for every eventuality.

"Fuji is very clearly a circuit that follows the modern trend, of slow corners and long straights. The 1.5 km long main straight means we have to compromise our ideal downforce level in order to ensure competitive top speeds, and that in turn makes the car trickier for the drivers to handle elsewhere on the circuit.

"I think that the very slow section at the end of the lap, from turns 10 to 16, is also likely to be a critical sector of the track in terms of lap-time. But we will need to wait until first practice until we can get a complete understanding of the circuit's challenges."

 

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