While Williams and Spyker have already started their testing week at Valencia, it will be another couple of days before the rest of the teams are on track at Bahrain. With hopefully warmer weather than experienced at recent Spanish tests, they...
While Williams and Spyker have already started their testing week at Valencia, it will be another couple of days before the rest of the teams are on track at Bahrain. With hopefully warmer weather than experienced at recent Spanish tests, they will no doubt be keen to see how the cars perform in better conditions and for Renault it's a chance to ensure overall operations are working well.
"The entire race team will be going out there (Bahrain), and that's all part of our preparation," sporting manager Steve Nielsen told the team website. "We have seen that the car is reliable, and practiced our procedures last week in Spain. The aim for the next two weeks is therefore to concentrate on performance work while ensuring the whole team is running smoothly."
"The level of competition is much closer this season, and that means every little detail is important. You need to know the regulations inside out, and be able to get the most from the car at all times. That's why we have concentrated on preparing thoroughly because everything should be second nature when we get to Melbourne. In many ways, it should feel like the second race of the year, not the first…"
Aside from Bahrain Renault has had race team personnel at every test so far this year to prepare for the season. There's qualifying practice to be done for those new to the procedures -- and that means new engineers as well as rookie racer Heikki Kovalainen -- and also things like pit stop simulations and general refreshers for everyone on how things should run.
"We had a full run-through of our procedures and found some areas that needed some fixes -- but it's clearly better to make your mistakes during the pre-season in Barcelona, rather than in the heat of battle at Albert Park," said Nielsen. "It might seem a little extravagant to take the whole race team to Spain for a day, but it always pays dividends."
More often than not at testing the focus is on the drivers and who's at the top of the times but evidently it's not only those behind the wheel that are getting up to speed. "We have five 'car crews' at the team, and three of them are part of the race team," Nielsen explained.
"By the time they get to Australia, they will all have built a chassis from scratch, run it at three or four tests and stripped it many times, so there is very little they don't know about it. That means that they will have run the car for fifteen days or so before the start of the season -- which is the rough equivalent of five full race weekends."
The Bahrain test sessions are a total of six days, three this week starting Thursday (22nd - 24th) and three next week (27th - March 1st) and for the teams taking part they will be the last scheduled tests before the season opener at Melbourne on March 18th.