The ING Renault F1 Team completed a busy, productive opening day of practice for the 2007 Belgian Grand Prix today at Spa-Francorchamps. On the first day of an important race weekend, which will see the team's title partner and race sponsor ING...
The ING Renault F1 Team completed a busy, productive opening day of practice for the 2007 Belgian Grand Prix today at Spa-Francorchamps.
On the first day of an important race weekend, which will see the team's title partner and race sponsor ING host over 13,000 guests during its three days, team drivers Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen complete a total of 113 laps -- equivalent to two and a half race distances.
As in Monza, the objective was to run as many laps as possible in order to establish good baseline set-ups, but also to take full advantage of the free engine mileage during Friday practice, given that Spa is second only to the Italian circuit in the severity of the V8 engine's duty cycle. Both drivers made consistent progress in improving the car's handling through the two sessions, and while there is still work to do, they are optimistic of a competitive showing tomorrow.
"This was a good day for us. We got a good answer comparing the two types of Bridgestone tyre, and in terms of the car's handling and set-up, our situation is getting better and better. There is still some work to do tonight after we have analysed the data, but I think we can say "so far, so good" at this point."
"We got a lot done today, working on the set-up and comparing the two tyres. The timesheets didn't reflect the car's full potential, because I had traffic on my quickest lap at the end of the session, and I think there is more to come from the set-up as well as I work with my engineers this evening. I think we made a good start to our programme, and we can continue in the same way tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"We had two very good practice sessions today. The Spa-Francorchamps circuit has some unusual demands, and we looked at these while building on the work we did at the test here back in July. The cars are running well, the balance is almost there and the tyres are performing as expected. All in all, it was a useful day."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations:
"Although Monza is often talked about as the definitive test of a Formula 1 engine, the demands of Spa are not to be underestimated. The duty cycle is almost as severe as we saw last week, and the challenge of Eau Rouge must also be negotiated 44 times during the race, with the unusual vertical g loadings it imposes on the engine and particularly its lubrication."
"In this context, our July test was very useful, as we had not previously run the V8 engine at this circuit, and we built upon our conclusions during practice today. On Friday evening, we are used to saying that the timesheets mean little, but this is even more true at a circuit where the fuel mass penalty is so high -- and where relatively small differences in fuel load therefore make a large difference to lap-time. We are happy with the work we did today, though, and the car and engine both ran reliably and competitively."
Free Practice 1: 1:49.380, 24 laps, 11th
Free Practice 2: 1:48.086, 30 laps, 7th
Free Practice 1: 1:49.138, 21 laps, 9th
Free Practice 2: 1:48.567, 38 laps, 10th