2011 Team mates comparison - #11 Renault


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With this team's superstar Robert Kubica sidelined by a horrible rally crash on the eve of the season, veteran Nick Heidfeld was drafted in to join Vitaly Petrov in the Russian's second season.


For a full explanation of the chart, see the previous Force India thread.

Q2 times have been used for the qualifying comparisons in all cases except Australia and Singapore, where Q1 times have been used due to the driver of car #9 failing to progress in each case. In Spain Heidfeld failed to set a qualifying time. The overall qualifying comparisons exclude China, where Heidfeld was caught by a late red flag in Q2, as well as the two wet races.

Here also are the actual qualifying and finishing positions:

Petrov (Q)68107610101491210718108161215
Petrov (R)3179811R51210129R179R111310
Heidfeld (Q)18616924159161114--------
Heidfeld (R)12312788R8RR--------
Senna (Q)----------7101591514149
Senna (R)----------139151613121617

Initially the Renault's forward-blowing exhaust proved very effective, each driver scoring a podium finish in the opening two races. As others scrambled to copy Adrian Newey, however, the team (whose exhaust layout left them unable to do likewise) was rapidly left behind. Heidfeld's difficulties in qualifying were well-publicised and ultimately contributed to his replacement for the Belgian GP, although on 3 occasions he finished ahead of Vitaly in the race having started behind him.

From Spa, Bruno Senna took up residence of car #9 and made an immediate impact, putting the car seventh on the grid in wet conditions in qualifying and comprehensively beating his team-mate in the process. From then on the pattern was extremely variable, with Senna much quicker at Singapore and his home race at Interlagos, but outqualified by Petrov at the other events. A number of incidents may have betrayed a certain amount of race-rustiness, and contributed to Vitaly leading his team mate for almost 75% of the races in which they were paired.

Both drivers are currently unemployed for 2012, the newly rebranded Lotus team opting to lure Kimi Raikkonen out of retirement and pairing him with GP2 champion Romain Grosjean.
Bruno appears to have his uncle's talent for qualifying but not for racing, although Ayrton never managed to convert as many of his great qualie laps into race wins. Next season will be interesting to see, I have a horrible suspicion Kimi's return could be more Schumie than Niki...

These stats also seem to justify the team's decision to pension off Heidfeld, although I'm sure there are other factors behind the raw numbers.
These stats also seem to justify the team's decision to pension off Heidfeld, although I'm sure there are other factors behind the raw numbers.

I dunno, Senna doesn't look too good across these stats. There's more black to the left than yellow to the right, even if the Cyborg wins in both instances.
The front facing exhaust was brilliant on tracks where you required aerodynamic grip but its major problem was it was very sensitive to downforce and the exhaust was blowing over the sidepods

When mechanical grip was more important ..it was found wanting - they admitted it struggled on slow speed corners

As for Heidfeld he did better than Petrov but you would expect that given he has over 150 GP experience and beaten some illustrious teammates on his CV

His qualifying was his achilles heel and interestingly slower than Petrov which is what concerned Bouillier. Therefore he was starting too far back and it was mainly damage limitation or fighting for scraps

Based on what Kubica achieved and Heidfeld being a good match against him at BMW then it was expected he would do the same given the opportunity of team leader and the knowledge of pirelli tyres and his own belief he can still be world champion

What does not help Heidfeld is his persona as some dour or quiet character - he is nicknamed Leidfeld in Germany translated as "Misery"

At best Heidfeld should have been behind the Mercedes and well in front of Force India's and Saubers which was not the case

Kubica really masks the car's and team deficiencies

There appears to be some uneasy tension between the guys at Enstone and Genii capital the owners ...throw in the plans of Proton - Dani Bahar's grand scheme next year will be important for the team.

The lack of resources or restricted resources meant Renault fell away alarmingly to the others

They've lost some key engineers like Bob Bell and the relationship with Kubica has broken down completely- how much will they rue letting him do rallying

The row over the Lotus name did not help either..now they've got the name its time to shut up and produce the goods on the track

Has anyone considered are Proton bothered that they run an F1 team powered by a rival car manufacturer?

Signing Raikkonen and Grosjean is a statement of intent...although the question mark remains do they have the resources to compete with the top 4
AS for Petrov and Senna

You could say both were unlucky given the team's situation

Petrov has not built on the podium in Melbourne and the blast about the team's dubious strategy might have influenced his exit

Senna - clearly done for marketing reasons with a Lotus Renault as it were like his late uncle. Having shown promises at both Spa and Monza where he knows the tracks...he too failed to really build on the opportunity given to him
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