The ING Renault F1 Team returned to the Circuit de Catalunya to begin its winter development programme. The 3-day test session is being held on the Montmelo track and will enable Heikki Kovalainen, who's driving this week, to familiarise himself...
The ING Renault F1 Team returned to the Circuit de Catalunya to begin its winter development programme. The 3-day test session is being held on the Montmelo track and will enable Heikki Kovalainen, who's driving this week, to familiarise himself with the new 2008 ECU. The aim of this session is quite clear: prepare for the Renault team's new season, in particular in the area of electronics, as this week the team is running with the new ECU and without traction control and other aids.
Heikki found his marks very quickly. This morning he worked on setting up the balance of his car on a very cold track, and in the afternoon he did a number of long runs to test the new ECU's reliability. With a total of 81 laps covered (377kms) the Finn was one of the drivers who spent the most time on the track enabling him to gather a lot of information on his first day out. He topped the time sheets for a long time, and his best lap in 1m 22.802s gave him fourth place in the overall classification.
So far this first day back has been a very positive one. The team ran though its programme without meeting any major difficulties, and did not really suffer from the numerous interruptions that marked the session. The data recorded today will be completed tomorrow and already the signs are very encouraging.
"I was very happy to back driving today. Since Brazil I haven't been out on the track for several weeks so I was pretty impatient this morning. I have to say that driving without any assistance, as was the case today is really great. You have to pay attention to your driving, your reaccelerating, your tyre wear and behind the wheel it's fun. We did a good job on our first day back. The car reacted well to our set-up changes and I think that between now and Thursday we'll make a lot of progress."
Christian Silk, Test Chief Engineer:
"The day went off well. We've progressed and I think everybody was happy to back out on the track again. We're going to do our utmost to prepare for next year's season in the best possible conditions, and our first day's been very encouraging. We're going to continue along the same lines tomorrow and Thursday and we hope to make further progress."
81 laps, 377 km
Fastest lap: 1:22.802