Best lap: 1:21.721
2007 World Series by Renault champion Alvaro Parente, today enjoyed the fruits of his success with a day's testing at the wheel of the R27 with the ING Renault F1 Team in Jerez. This saw the team complete a fourth and final day of testing with the R27 at the Spanish circuit, with the young Portuguese driver completing 64 laps on his first day in an F1 car.
Since 2005, the winner of the prestigious World Series by Renault has been invited to test with the ING Renault F1 Team. After triumphing last season, Alvaro Parente had the chance to enjoy his prize early in the year.
He visited Enstone to mould his seat and conduct technical briefings on 8 January. Last Sunday, he joined the ING Renault F1 Team in Jerez to learn about how the test team operated, and today saw the highpoint of the week as he got behind the wheel of the R27 for the first time.
Under sunny skies, the Portuguese spent the morning acclimatising to the car with short runs of three to five laps. The work continued this afternoon, with the team making set-up changes to the R27 in order to gather Parente's feedback. Alvaro set his fastest time on new tyres at the end of the day, with a lap of 1:21.721.
Alvaro Parente: "The past few days with the ING Renault F1 Team have been the best possible way to understand how a title winning team works. Everything was new to me, especially seeing so many people around the car and watching the telemetry! I want to thank everybody in the team, they gave me a fantastic welcome. At the wheel, I was most impressed by the speed I could carry through the high-speed sections and the g-forces. I was expecting the braking to be very powerful, and I adapted to this quite quickly. I learned something new on every run, the times improved steadily and I tried to give the engineers good feedback. It was a fantastic day, with positive results in every sense. I hope I can use the experience to my advantage for the next stage of my career."
Christian Silk, Chief Test Engineer: "We built today's programme to suit Alvaro's first drive in an F1 car. The most important thing was to get him comfortable in the car, and feeling confident, which we tried to do with the short runs this morning. That allowed him to adjust his driving position, to get used to the controls on the steering wheel and to understand our procedures. We then got down to work by putting a more aggressive set-up on the car, based on the testing conducted by Fernando and Nelsinho earlier in the week. He completed some long runs during the afternoon in this configuration. All the way through, Alvaro took a very intelligent approach. He didn't try and set the world alight this morning, but found his feet steadily, improved and set some respectable times during the afternoon. Our main goal was to see how well he adapted to the car, how much he understood and to assess the quality of his feedback. He spent a lot of time talking with the engineers, and I think that we all felt it was an encouraging day. We hope today's experience will allow him to find a good drive for the coming season."