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GP Week : Issue 112
Renault aiming for top step in 2011 RENAULT could begin challenging for race wins when the F1 circus returns to Europe in three weeks’ time, with a major aero update due to be bolted on the R31 in time for the Turkish Grand Prix in Istanbul on May 8. So far this year, Renault has been one of the biggest surprises, having secured two podium finishes in the first two races and taken the fight to McLaren and Ferrari. Speaking to Italy’s Gazzetta dello Sport last week, team chairman Gerard Lopez said the aims for the 2011 season included making regular trips to the podium but also returning to the winners’ circle. The Enstone -based squad last won a race in 2008 when Fernando Alonso beat Robert Kubica at the Japanese Grand Prix in Fuji. “ The plan this year includes two stages: the first was to try to get consistently on the podium, while the second is to get at least one win,” Lopez told Gazzetta dello Sport. “ The first target has been reached, but the other one also depends on Red Bull, who at the moment is far ahead. However, on particular tracks like Monaco or the Hungaroring perhaps we might be able to play for it.” Big upgrade scheduled for Turkey F1 NEWS >> FIa asked to look at F1 cockpit safety FORMULA One’s governing body has been asked to look into the safety of F1 cockpits after a frightening incident during the Malaysian Grand Prix a week ago. Sauber’s Sergio Perez said he was lucky to escape injury when a piece of heavy debris penetrated his survival cell, with the Mexican having his car’s recently relocated ECU to thank for not suffering any injuries. The FIA has now been called in to investigate the situation. There remains some confusion as to what the debris that hit Perez’s car was and from where it came. It was originally thought that it was a piece of ballast from one of the Toro Rosso cars, but the Italian team have since clarified that no parts were missing from either of their cars after last Sunday’s race. It’s now being speculated that a loose drain cover was to blame. “I think it was something very unsafe. I was really lucky to get away with no damage [injury] after we saw what had happened to the chassis,” Pérez told reporters in Shanghai. “It came through very easy, so I am happy that nothing else happened to me. “ We didn’t see what part it was. We reckon it was ballast, as nothing else could do such damage.” Sepang incident sends alarm bells ringing 11