The Renault F1 Team completed the final test session of the year at the Spanish circuit of Jerez last week. Several important evaluations were conducted: Fernando Alonso's first run in the hybrid car which precedes next year's R23, and tests for two young French drivers, Franck Montagny and Sébastien Bourdais. Executive Director of Engineering Pat Symonds summarised the week's work:
"Fernando got his first taste of the hybrid car," he explained. "We had the clear objectives of concentrating on engine work and reliability. In fact, the R23 gave us no problems -- indeed, the car behaved so well that we managed to begin a a tyre test programme which we hadn't initially planned! We also tested the 2003-spec electronic systems, as well as the new gearbox.
"Fernando was very pleased with the car. He feels that it is already much easier to drive, and has a good balance. The engine exceeded our mileage targets during the session. Good news all round."
The Renault F1 Team also gave two young drivers their first opportunity at the wheel of an R202. "Jarno Trulli drove the car to establish a reference point in terms of lap time," continued Symonds. "Franck Montagny then took over the next day. We also gave him a run on Sunday, as the weather interrupted his first day. On Saturday, Sébastien Bourdais also tested the car.
"Overall, we have given four young drivers a taste of F1: Dumas, Monteiro, Montagny and Bourdais," concluded Pat. "All four of them did a very professional job, and we now need to sit down in order to decided which of them might become our test driver in 2003."