Fernando fifth and Fisico eleventh after the first day of practice in Melbourne. The opening day of practice for the 2006 Australian Grand Prix took place in overcast conditions and cool temperatures at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit today,...
Fernando fifth and Fisico eleventh after the first day of practice in Melbourne.
The opening day of practice for the 2006 Australian Grand Prix took place in overcast conditions and cool temperatures at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit today, with track temperatures barely reaching 25°C. As usual, the Renault F1 Team completed only installation laps during the opening hour of running, prior to beginning its full technical programme in the afternoon.
Fernando Alonso completed a positive afternoon's work with his R26, but Giancarlo Fisichella's programme was cut short after he suffered a fuel feed problem. This has now been fixed, and will not require the V8 engine to be changed.
"We seem to be in good shape. The conditions were quite windy out on the track and the grip levels are poor at the moment, but I am quite happy with the car even so. The grip levels will improve as more rubber goes down on the track, which will give all the drivers the confidence to attack more."
"But at the moment, the Renault feels nice to drive, and our pace is good. I think we are in a similar position to the other races so far this season -- aiming for the top positions in qualifying, and hopefully on Sunday as well."
"It was a bit of a difficult day for me. The cold temperatures meant the car was understeering a lot, and we had just started to improve the balance when I felt something strange with the engine. I brought the car back to the garage slowly, and we found the fuel feed problem after the session."
"On the positive side, Fernando's times showed that the car is quick at this circuit so I think we will be in a strong position."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"We anticipated cooler conditions in Melbourne this year owing to its later position in the calendar, and made our tyre choice with that in mind. Even so, it is still not easy to get the tyres working well in the cold weather."
"However, the problem is the same for all the teams, and we made some good changes with Fernando's car to put us on the right track. Giancarlo stopped before the end of the session when we saw signs of a potential engine problem. We will look to make up for the lost set-up time during tomorrow's session.
Denis Chevrier, Head of Trackside Engine Operations:
"Fernando's day ran smoothly, and we were able to complete our normal programme with him, working on fine-tuning the engine mapping for this circuit. Giancarlo experienced a performance loss on the engine during the second session, which cost him track time. We diagnosed a fuel feed problem after the session ended, which has now been solved."
Fernando Alonso: 5th
16 laps total
Best time: 1:27.443
Giancarlo Fisichella: 11th
13 laps total
Best time: 1:28.280