The ING Renault F1 Team enjoyed a trouble-free opening day of practice in Istanbul, completing nearly 100 laps in total in spite of a twenty-five minute delay during second practice following a red flag for a loose drain cover.
As is usual during the three hours of Friday running, the team focused on basic race set-up work, as well as conducting a comparison of the two types of Bridgestone tyre (the hard and medium compounds from the 2007 range) available this weekend. Both drivers were reasonably pleased with the handling balance of the R27, although there are still more improvements to be made overnight, and feel they have made a positive start to the weekend.
"I was quite happy with the balance from the first run this morning, and we improved it all the way through the two sessions. I had a yellow flag on my final run, which stopped me from improving my time, but everybody had the same conditions. The red flag meant we weren't able to do all of our set-up changes, and there are still some improvements that we know can be made to find more pace. It has been a positive start to the weekend, I am happy with the car at this stage and I know there is more performance to come tomorrow.
"I had a small problem with the engine mapping on the final run, which meant I wasn't able to get a good answer on the final set-up changes, but otherwise there was nothing unusual for me in either session. We had to change the programme round a little bit after the red flag, but the situation was the same for the other teams as well. The car balance is still a little bit inconsistent, so there are areas for us to work on overnight, but I think we seem to be in our usual position in the bottom half of the top ten -- and we have made a good start.
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"From the team's perspective, it was a pretty straightforward day. The time we lost with the red flag meant that we had to shift our programme around a little, which compromised things slightly. Equally, the yellow flag in the first sector at the end of the session prevented the drivers from improving their times. But those were factors that every team had to deal with, so we didn't lose anything in relative terms. Both tyres are performing well at this demanding circuit, and the drivers are pretty comfortable with the car.
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations:
"As always when visiting a circuit where we run only once a year, there was plenty to do today, fine-tuning parameters such as the engine mapping and gear ratios to extract maximum performance from the RS27 engine. It was a trouble-free day, and both engines performed well. The red flag during second practice cost all of the teams some set-up time, and perhaps on Sunday evening, that will prove to have been important. From the team's point of view, though, this was a promising start to the weekend, and we will hope to build on it to ensure a strong qualifying performance tomorrow."
Free Practice 1: 8th, 1:29.541, 19 laps
Free Practice 2: 12th, 1:29.456, 28 laps
Chassis: R27-02, T-car
Free Practice 1: 5th, 1:29.346, 19 laps
Free Practice 2: 8th, 1:29.025, 28 laps