Ricardo Zonta talks about his first test session with Renault
Q: Ricardo, you had your first test with the ING Renault F1 Team this week. How did it go?
Ricardo Zonta: Everything went well for me. The first day was all about acclimatizing, getting comfortable in the car and learning the different procedures with the car. On day two, I was able to start working properly, and my main focus was aero testing for some of the upcoming races. I was running with quite low downforce, and the main goal was to achieve a target mileage in each configuration.
Q: How do you feel in the R27?
RZ: It's a new car for me, so I have had to adapt my driving style a little, and the other thing is that the grip from the tyres is completely different to what I have been used to. But it handles well, and the next tests will allow me to feel really comfortable with the car. But this was an important first test, not just to learn about the car but also to meet the people I will be working with this season.
Q: You mentioned the tyres. We know that you are very familiar with the Bridgestones, but how different are the 2007 specification tyres?
RZ: They are completely different. Before, we had a very good level of grip on the first lap which meant you could set a quick time straight away. That's not the case any more, the grip is lower because the tyres are harder. At first, I was over-driving and being too aggressive, but I quickly learned that you needed to be smoother with the steering to get the best from the tyres. That's a small change to make, and one I got used to pretty quickly.
Q: And what is the atmosphere like in the team?
RZ: Everybody has been really friendly, and easy to work with. I had already been to Enstone a few times to make my seat and to meet the team, so it wasn't totally unfamiliar when I arrived. They all took time to explain how the team worked, and how they approach testing, so I could find my feet and feel comfortable straight away. I think we made a really good start this week.