PROST scriptum

So a Ferrari turbo won the Monaco Grand Prix. That makes us look pretty silly doesn't it? Naturally people are going to compare Ferrari's turbo with Renault's turbo, and we're not going to come out of it well.

People have said - or at least they've intimated - that we've taken a dive, we're no longer good enough, and that after Monaco, the Renault people are panicking.

Basically, since Gilles' win at Monaco, my team is regarded as having failed. But as I know the details, allow me to step in as the defence lawyer, or at least to air my own personal views.

It's easy to jump to conclusions. Instant reaction goes hand in glove with immediate news. But I think everyone should take a wider view, taking into account the past, and the potential of the future.

I wasn't a Formula 1 racing driver when the Renault RS 10 made its debut. I was racing m Formula 3 that year, but I was an interested spectator at the Monaco Grand Prix 1979. Which were the cars on the back row of the grid? If my memory serves me well, they were a couple of Renaults.

Next question: Who won the next race, at Dijon? Jean-Pierre Jabouille is the answer to that one. And who was third? René Arnoux. Moral? Don't jump to conclusions.

But going back to this year's Monaco Grand Prix, I'd like to tell you that there is no gnashing of teeth back at the Renault works. I spoke to Michel Tetu at the factory, both the day after the race, and the day after that, and he tells me that my monocoque was badly bent in the accident just after Ste Devote on the first lap. Let's face it, that's not surprising. The car jumped six feet in the air. So it's no surprise that the car was undriveable thereafter.

Any comparison between Gilles' race and mine is consequently useless. But there is one factor that makes me an optimist: our car is new, and we know how we have to develop it. I see the future as being rosy.

I congratulate Ferrari on their victory with the 126C, but also see that it's of considerable benefit to our team.

Up until now, Renault has been the only team on Grand Prix circuits running turbo engines. There have been turbo engines running on brakes in factories; that explains why Ferrari has been so quick to succeed. But Renault has never had anyone with whom to compare the V6 engine. The team has never known just how far it can go in engine development. That's why our engine may seem to be a little way behind the rest. But now that we know just how good a V6 turbo engine can be at low revs, and just how good the torque can be, and how reliable it can be, there's no knowing just what we can with our own turbo.

So now we're going to do the same things as Ferrari has done. That's because we like to be competitive, but most of all, we know that we can do it. I repeat that Ferrari's advertisement at Monaco for a turbo engine has not been in the slightest bit detrimental to Renault. If anything, it has motivated the team. Our engine men are keener than ever to prove that they're just as good as their counterparts at Ferrari.

You wait and see. We're going to win races.

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