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Q&A with Ricciardo’s Race Engineer Simon Rennie

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Despite the hours, the travel, and the thousands of kilometres of testing and racing, everyone in the team is passionate about what they do.

At this final race before the summer break, Daniel’s Race Engineer Simon Rennie traces his love of motorsport back to a hillclimb in Yorkshire and explains why his upcoming wedding won’t feature dance lessons from Daniel.

What got first you into motorsport?
My first experience of motorsport was at Harewood hillclimb. I loved the speed, as well as the sounds and smells of racing cars! My parents took me. I think I was five, so that would have been about 1985. After that we went to some grands prix. Once we interrupted a family holiday in Portugal to drive to Jerez to watch a race. My dad was always a fan of cars and always had interesting cars. The interest passed to me.

What made you think ‘yes, there’s a career for me in this’?
I was always interested in science and maths at school and like most young lads I was in love with cars. During final year at school I realised that I could combine those things by aiming for a career in engineering. The first job I had after university was working at Renault in vehicle dynamics. I was going to go into chassis for road cars but a job at Renault F1 came along instead.

There’s a lot of responsibility resting on your shoulders during a race weekend, how do you deal with that?
I don’t get too wound up about things during an event. I’m pretty level headed, which helps keep focused on the job in hand without things getting overwhelming. I really enjoy qualifying because absolutely everything is down to the second and it has to be perfect. That’s the bit I enjoy the most I think. In the race you might have a bit more time to react to things.

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Has Daniel surprised you this season?
I’ve been surprised at how quickly he got to grips with the RB10. He has also impressed me with how well he can instinctively find the performance limit of the car very quickly. He’s focused and calm anytime he is in the car but he can always lighten the mood and usually ends up making everyone laugh when his helmet is off.

He didn’t succeed with you in Hockenheim with his dance moves. Would you fancy taking lessons off him?
Err, I don’t think so. I’m getting married in December and I need to start working on my first dance, but I’m not sure I’ll be taking any lessons from him though!

What keeps you doing the job you do? Is it still a thrill?
I love my job. Despite the very long hours, intense work and constant travelling it never feels like work! I get to tinker with racing cars all day long – I can’t think of a better way to make a living.

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