The ING Renault F1 Team enjoyed a productive day in Albert Park as Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet began their preparations for Sunday's Australian Grand Prix.
Free practice 1: 16 laps, 1:28.123, P10
Run 1: 8 laps, new option tyres
Run 2: 7 laps, same option tyres, change to rear suspension
Free Practice 2: 28 laps, 1:27.232, P12
Run 1: 7 laps, same option tyres, gearbox ratios modified
Run 2: 8 laps, new option tyres
Run 3: 7 laps, new prime tyres
Run 4: 6 laps, new prime tyres, change to rear suspension
Fernando: "At last, after lots of winter testing, expectations and predictions, we have started the 2009 season. Today we concentrated on car set-up in hot conditions without being too concerned by what our competitors were doing. We now have lots of valuable information and, as usual, we will go over that this evening. We are missing some grip but we have some ideas about how we can overcome these issues. So I'm still confident. We should deliver a better performance tomorrow."
Free practice 1: 25 laps, 1:29.461, P18
Run 1: 10 laps, new option tyres
Run 2: 9 laps, same option tyres
Run 3: 5 laps, same option tyres
Free Practice 2: 35 laps, 1:28.076, P19
Run 1: 6 laps, same option tyres, gearbox ratios modified, changes to rear suspension
Run 2: 14 laps, new option tyres
Run 3: 9 laps, new prime tyres, adjustment to front wing
Run 4: 6 laps, new prime tyres, adjustment to front suspension
Nelson: "That wasn't an easy day. I struggled to find a good balance on a green track with little grip. However, the settings that we worked on today have still helped us explore some interesting developments for tomorrow and I remain positive."
Technical Debrief with Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering
Track conditions: "As always in Melbourne, there are lots of support races and the track was in reasonable condition when free practice began. Having said that, the sessions took place quite late in the day and the asphalt tended to cool down and we had to take this into account. "
Chassis balance: "The car was not as well balanced as we would have liked. We encountered lots of oversteer today and reducing that is what we are concentrating on."
Tyre performance: "The harder tyres are rather difficult to get up to temperature. The soft tyres give a good level of performance from the first lap, but they then suffer from quite significant graining."
Problems encountered: "We encountered an electrical problem on Fernando's car this morning and that limited his track time a little bit. Other than that, the R29 has not had any problems."
Outlook for the rest of the weekend: "Our goal is to focus on the balance of the car in order to overcome the oversteer on this demanding circuit."