After a three-year absence, Giancarlo Fisichella returned to Renault's factory at Enstone in the UK this week for a seat fitting. The last time the Italian was there was when he raced for the team when it was Benetton. Fisichella was pleased to...
After a three-year absence, Giancarlo Fisichella returned to Renault's factory at Enstone in the UK this week for a seat fitting. The last time the Italian was there was when he raced for the team when it was Benetton. Fisichella was pleased to see some familiar faces as he began his preparations for the 2005 season as a Renault driver.
"It has been an emotional day," he said. "For me, visiting Enstone is a bit like coming home -- the factory is bigger, there are more people, but the atmosphere here is still the same. Most of the mechanics and my engineers are the same people I worked with three years ago so I felt at ease straight away. I am pleased but also very excited to be back."
The seat fitting, using the current R24 chassis, was carried out with Alan Permane, who will be Fisichella's race engineer. Giancarlo will try out the Renault for the first time at Barcelona when the team begins its winter test programme on November 24th.
"The seat fit went very smoothly," said Permane. "Within the cockpit, the car has not changed significantly since Giancarlo left the team and of course, we began working from his old settings. It needed some minor tweaks for him to feel fully comfortable, but he soon found a position he was happy with."
Fisichella left Benetton at the end of 2001 and was replaced by compatriot Jarno Trulli. In a reversal of the situation, Fisichella now takes the place of Trulli, although Jacques Villeneuve competed for Renault in the last three races of 2004 when Trulli was dropped after Monza. Fisichella will be teammate to Fernando Alonso in 2005.
Furthering the drivers' bout of musical chairs, Villeneuve will race for Sauber next year, taking the seat Fisichella vacated. The Canadian will partner Felipe Massa.