The ING Renault F1 Team today continued testing with its new R27 challenger, becoming the first team to test with two examples of its new car in 2007.
Race drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen were both able to take the wheel of the new car to continue with the initial systems checks and reliability running on the new car.
The team was encouraged to complete a full race distance with Fisichella's car on the first full day of testing with the new car, which indicates a promising initial level of reliability for the R27. Kovalainen first day at the wheel saw him complete fewer laps as he got a feel for the car's handling and performance, but his positive first impressions echoed those of his team-mate yesterday.
With just four cars running, the circuit remained in a poor, dusty condition. Grip levels therefore remained low, a problem compounded by the cool morning and late afternoon temperatures, which made it complicated for the drivers to properly evaluate the car.
The objectives for the day, though, were focused on accumulating mileage rather than assessing pure performance, and the team successfully passed the important milestone of the first race distance while completing consistent long distance running. Furthermore, overnight analysis of yesterday's engine problem identified the failure of an accessory component as the cause, and remedial work this morning ensured both cars ran without difficulty throughout the day.
"This is a brand new car, so to complete a full race distance on the first proper day of running, without any problems, is a very good achievement. It means that we are already in a strong position with reliability, although there is still a lot of work to do ahead of the first race."
"The track conditions were still not good today, but the situation is improving a little. It didn't matter so much today because we were focusing on reliability work, but tomorrow we will start to make some set-up changes. Overall, I still have a nice feeling with the car, and I can feel it has good potential."
"This was my first day in the car, so we didn't complete many laps today as we checked everything over and got comfortable. The first feeling this morning was very good, and also during the longer runs this afternoon."
"The characteristics are similar to the R26, but I can feel that we have improved in the areas we had targeted during the winter. Giancarlo has already shown that the reliability levels are good, so hopefully we can do more laps tomorrow and make good progress with the programme."
115 laps, 505 km
Fastest lap: 1:20.201
44 laps, 193 km
Fastest lap: 1:20.635