The Renault F1 Team today completed a trouble-free opening day of practice at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, ahead of Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix. Already in 2006, the trend has been for each team's race drivers to run relatively little on ...
The Renault F1 Team today completed a trouble-free opening day of practice at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya, ahead of Sunday's Spanish Grand Prix.
Already in 2006, the trend has been for each team's race drivers to run relatively little on Friday in order to economise engine mileage. At a circuit such as Barcelona, where every team completes thousands of kilometres of testing mileage during the winter, this was even more the case.
At Renault, the objective was to evaluate the two types of Michelin tyre available this weekend, as Barcelona is a particularly hard circuit for the tyres owing to the numerous high-speed corners in its layout. This was completed without any particular problems, and the team will now set to work analysing the results of the tests in order to make the best choice for tomorrow's qualifying session but, most importantly, Sunday's race.
"It was fantastic to start running today in Barcelona. After months of testing here with empty grandstands, I think all the drivers will have enjoyed driving in front of some spectators, not just me! But I don't think that the Friday at any other circuit has the same level of emotion as we saw from the fans today, it was wonderful to see them all around the circuit."
"In terms of our programme, it was all OK. We checked the tyres and didn't have any big problems, because the results were quite similar to the test. I am looking forward to qualifying and the race, and I hope I can give the fans something to enjoy!
"Today wasn't perfect for us and I think we still have quite a lot of room for improvement. At the moment, the car does not feel fantastic. Compared to the test, the track is very slippery and the grip is quite low. The balance of the car was pretty good, but we need to improve the grip level of the car for tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"We took a slightly different approach to our programme today. Barcelona may be a circuit at which we conduct a significant proportion of our testing programme, but it is also a track at which tyre choice is critical."
"This is because of the circuit's severity on the tyres, as there are many long, high-speed corners. We therefore completed some longer runs this afternoon to assess the tyre performance, and we are very pleased with the results."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Trackside Engine Operations:
"This is a circuit which changes a lot during the day, and this morning's rain shower added a further unknown factor to the mix before we began running. Indeed, this was primarily a day for assessing and fine-tuning chassis performance."
"From an engine point of view, Barcelona is a circuit we know very well, and at which we have already tested with the B-specification engine. As such, we ran through our normal checks on Fernando's race-old engine, and Giancarlo's new one. Everything ran smoothly and we collected plenty of useful data."
Fernando Alonso: 3rd
18 laps total
Giancarlo Fisichella: 7th
19 laps total