Day 1 of testing in Silverstone for the Renault F1 Team.
The French squad started its final planned test session of the 2006 season today in Silverstone, running with Heikki Kovalainen and giving Nelson Piquet Jr his debut drive with the team.
Heikki started his programme this morning with set up changes to the car and as the track conditions improved he was able to work on tyre selection for the Japanese Grand Prix with our partner Michelin. At the end of the session, Kovalainen had set fastest time in 1'19.125 and covered 91 laps.
On the other side of the garage, Nelson Piquet Jr joined the team for his first test as a Renault driver and focused on discovering the R26 and the team's working procedures. The Brazilian acclimatized himself well. He showed a good level of performance and worked hard for his first day with the team. He finally set the fourth-fastest laptime in 1'19.723 and completed 71 laps today.
"We made good progress today regarding the tyre selection for Suzuka. The track was changing a lot so we will need to analyse the data to evaluate the level performance of each type of tyre but it was a good day of testing."
Nelson Piquet Jr:
"It was a good first day of testing. There are some similarities with the GP2 car in terms of the clutch and electronics, but I still have a lot to learn, so the main thing for today was to do as much running as possible, and to take everything on-board. It's important I think to learn a lot straight away and to meet the people I am going to work with. It was a busy and interesting day, and I felt comfortable in the car straight away which is quite positive I think."
Christian Silk, Chief Test Engineer:
"We started slowly this morning owing to the poor track conditions and then we worked on tyre testing for Suzuka as it is our priority for this session this week. Regarding Nelson, we wanted him to acclimatize to the team and our way of working and procedures. He did a nice first day of testing and acclimatized himself well."