It was a slippery start to the Silverstone weekend for the Renault F1 Team today during the opening practice sessions for Sunday's British Grand Prix. After running just installation laps in the morning, as is now customary for the opening...
It was a slippery start to the Silverstone weekend for the Renault F1 Team today during the opening practice sessions for Sunday's British Grand Prix.
After running just installation laps in the morning, as is now customary for the opening session of the weekend, the team's drivers got down to business this afternoon. With Silverstone basking in hot sunshine throughout the day, track temperatures and conditions were significantly different to those experienced during the last test at the circuit in April.
All cars in the field seemed to suffer from a general lack of grip, with many drivers-- including those from Renault -- leaving the circuit at some point. Giancarlo Fisichella's running was also curtailed after just one run owing to a software problem. In spite of these difficulties, the drivers set quick times and, after further overnight improvements to the set-up, they will be optimistic of a strong performance for the rest of the weekend.
"I didn't really get much of a feel for things today -- I only did one timed lap, had a spin at Stowe, and then a problem that kept me in the garage for the rest of the session. We are not worried though: the problem will be fixed for tomorrow, and we have done a lot of testing here as well so we know the circuit."
"Obviously, conditions are quite different to what we saw in testing, but Fernando's work means we know the direction we need. So not really a busy day for me -- but we are still confident of being competitive."
"I had a lot of oversteer on every run today, and although we improved the car, we still haven't got the balance we want yet. It is also windy out there, which makes the car inconsistent from corner to corner. So it was quite difficult to drive, but I think the situation was the same for everybody. Lots of people were spinning off the circuit, so it seems the hot conditions have caught everybody out a little bit."
"With the balance problems we had, it is hard to say too much about the performance -- but we are in a good position on the times, and we know the car can be quick here. So I am looking forward to improving the set-up overnight, and a good qualifying session tomorrow.
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"As is so often the case when we come to a circuit at which we have already tested extensively, the weather and track conditions were significantly different to those we had prepared in. From what we could see on the TV monitors, though, we were not the only ones suffering from oversteer today."
"Giancarlo's running was restricted by a small car problem, but it is not a worry: we had planned a light programme as we have plenty of data about the circuit, and his engine will also have to complete a demanding race in Montreal in two weeks' time. As for Fernando, he worked to try and improve the oversteering car balance. While we made improvements, there is still some way to go."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Trackside Engine Operations:
"From the engine side, this was a normal day of practice as we fine-tuned the mapping of the RS26 V8. The hotter temperatures relative to the test change the acoustic conditions for the engine, but we were able to adjust to this without any difficulty."
"We already had a good baseline of information from our last test here, and began to build on that with Fernando's running today. The leaderboard showed us that lap-times were significantly slower than those seen in testing, owing to the hotter, windy conditions, and that finding a consistent chassis balance will be the main priority for the weekend."
Giancarlo Fisichella: 2nd
4 laps total
Fernando Alonso: 7th
14 laps total