The Renault F1 Team completed its final dry-weather test of the 2005 season today in Jerez. Fernando Alonso and Franck Montagny were in action for the team, completing a total of 213 laps.
For Fernando Alonso, his first test of the winter was a day of discovery, as he had not driven since winning the Chinese Grand Prix in October. His running allowed him to acclimatise himself to the V8 power levels, to understand the adjustments this demands in terms of driving style and set-up, and to get a feel for 2006 tyre development.
On the other side of the garage, Franck Montagny worked on a set-up programme this morning before conducting a brake evaluation programme.
Christian Silk, Chief Test Engineer:
"We had a very productive final day of dry running. Both cars once again ran trouble-free, and the drivers completed their programmes. Fernando had an interesting day learning about the V8 power levels, and was immediately competitive. Franck concluded his penultimate day of testing with the team on the right note: he did a lot of laps, and took top spot on the timesheets."
"Tomorrow will see him run with us for the final time, and I would like to thank him for all his work over the past two years: he has always given 100% to the team, to help us move forward, and we see the reward for his work this year. We wish him much success in the future."
"It was a positive day for me: I ran with the simulated engine power to understand how it will be next year, and everything went well. You can feel the power loss straight away, but you get used to it quickly and in any case, everybody is dealing with the same thing."
"I don't believe it makes it any easier to drive an F1 car: once you are really on the limit, it is always difficult, whether you are talking about an F3 car or an F1 car, a V10 engine or a V8. We set competitive lap times with our simulated set-up, and I am confident that we will be doing the same with the R26 next year."
"I had a busy day to finish the session, and I am pleased to finish quickest. The final laps today were quite an unusual feeling: I wanted to really enjoy them to the maximum, and I managed to do that. I have had two very good years with the team, and established some very good relationships. Now, for me, it is time to turn a new page: I want to be racing again, and I hope I can make that happen next year."
Tomorrow, Franck Montagny will conclude the Renault F1 Team's 2005 testing programme with a day of wet tyre development in conjunction with Michelin.