The ING Renault F1 Team today concluded its first test of the 2007 season at the Circuito de Jerez in Southern Spain.
The three-day private test, preceded by a new car shakedown day, saw the new R27 makes it on-track debut in anger as the team begins preparations for the new season, which begins in just two months' time. Uniquely, the team was equipped to run with two examples of the new car from the very first test, in order to maximise mileage, find faults and begin assessing the dynamic characteristics of the new machine.
The final day of running saw Heikki Kovalainen complete a full programme of endurance running, followed by set-up development. He finished the day having set the fastest time of the week, and the team's fastest time of the winter so far. The Finn's 113 trouble-free laps were further proof of the promising initial reliability of the car, and represent the second full distance completed by the R27 in its first full test.
Across the garage, Giancarlo Fisichella was less fortunate today, suffering from gearbox software gremlins during the morning that prevented him from running until lunchtime. He was subsequently able to continue the set-up programme that he had begun on Thursday without any further problems.
At the conclusion of testing, Chief Test Engineer Christian Silk was pleased with the progress the team had made during this first week of work in 2007:
"We have had a very successful week in Jerez, especially considering this was our first full test with the new R27. The gremlins we have encountered are completely normal with a new car, and we have worked methodically to solve each one."
"It has been a huge benefit to be able to run two new chassis from the off: we have found more problems, and conducted more set-up development, than ever before in a first test with a brand new car."
"Furthermore, the two successful race distances demonstrate that the level of reliability is already very good. For that, we need to congratulate our colleagues back at Enstone and Viry on a fantastic job over the winter."
"The team has worked hard out at the track this week, and the initial results from our testing are encouraging: the drivers are comfortable with the car, and we have begun to explore some of the performance in the last two days".
"We have taken a step forward in every area with the R27: firstly in terms of performance, but also with our team operations. It has been a very good start to the new year."
The team will next be in action in Valencia from 30 January to 1 February with race drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen.
56 laps, 248 km
Fastest lap: 1:20.478
113 laps, 500 km
Fastest lap: 1:19.183