Australian GP: Renault Friday practice report

A mixed start to the Australian Grand Prix for the ING Renault F1 Team The ING Renault F1 Team had a mixed start to this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, the opening race of the 2008 season held in Melbourne's Albert Park. Both Fernando Alonso...

A mixed start to the Australian Grand Prix for the ING Renault F1 Team

The ING Renault F1 Team had a mixed start to this weekend's Australian Grand Prix, the opening race of the 2008 season held in Melbourne's Albert Park. Both Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet completed some set-up work and tyre evaluation, but a spin for Nelson towards the end of the opening session left the team on the back foot and limited Nelson's running. He was still able to complete 35 laps and learnt the layout of the track. Fernando enjoyed a trouble-free day, covering 59 laps while improving the balance of the car, but a busy track prevented him from showing the car's true potential on new tyres. The team now turns its attention to Saturday's qualifying session to secure the best grid positions for the race.

Fernando Alonso

This first day has been very hot and very windy, but the conditions were the same for everyone. For the first day of work we worked on the set-up of the car and we made good progress, but we still have to improve the stability of the car under braking and its overall balance. So we must still find some performance, but I am optimistic for the rest of the weekend.

Nelson Piquet

That was not how I imagined my first day of work would be, and we would have liked to have made more progress. I made a mistake in the first session which caused some damage to my gearbox and meant the team had to do some work on my car between the two sessions. But I was able to get my first feelings for the track and I hope to make a bigger contribution tomorrow. I know that I have a lot to learn, but I was able to get more comfortable with each lap, and that is what I am going to continue to do throughout the weekend.

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering

A difficult start to our season. Nelson spun in the first session and our analysis showed there could be damage to the gearbox, so we had to change that, which resulted in him being out late for the second session. He was really on his back foot from there onwards. With Fernando we covered a good number of laps and completed a sensible programme. We made some improvements on the balance, but as always there is more to do. We feel there is a little bit more potential in the car as the two runs on new tyres were spoilt by traffic. But overall it looks like we are in with the big pack.

Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations

If you look at both the sessions it seems that the four favourites that emerged during the winter have confirmed their position today. From our point of view, the day was somewhat disappointing because we designed our programme to give Nelson the most time on track possible, but in the end that did not turn out to be the case, which is a shame on a circuit that is difficult to learn and master. We will try to make the most of the last practice session tomorrow to approach the qualifying session in the best shape possible.

-credit: renault

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Fernando Alonso , Nelson Piquet
Teams Renault F1 Team