The Renault F1 Team completed a productive, low-key day's work during today's opening free practice sessions for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. Following a busy three-day test last week on the same circuit, the team decided to sit out the ...
The Renault F1 Team completed a productive, low-key day's work during today's opening free practice sessions for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.
Following a busy three-day test last week on the same circuit, the team decided to sit out the opening practice session before completing its schedule of work this afternoon.
As at every circuit, the chassis programme in practice was devoted to tyre evaluations, and fine-tuning parameters such as the car balance and braking stability, both of which are important factors even at a power circuit such as Monza. For the engine team, their work concentrated on evaluating gear ratios and honing engine mapping to find the optimum compromise between outright performance and reliability.
Although neither driver came close to topping today's times, the level of performance was in line with expectations for the opening day and initial signs of the Michelin tyre performance are encouraging. The team will build on this solid start tomorrow, ahead of qualifying and the race.
"We ran a lot here last week, so today was all about checking off some specific jobs for the race, and testing the tyres. The Michelins seem very consistent, and the performance was right there from the first lap too. The times suggest we are not so quick, especially compared to Ferrari, but this is Friday and we know how much things can change through the weekend."
"I had a bit too much understeer today that meant I couldn't attack the corners as I wanted to, but we will dial this out overnight and I am confident the car will feel good tomorrow. I think we have made a good start to the weekend, and we now need to build on this."
"Last week's test meant we could do a lot of preparation for the race, and today was just about checking the car really. We were conservative in the way we ran the car, especially for me as my engine has already done a hard race in Turkey."
"The car balance isn't perfect yet and we have some understeer, but we did our programme, did the tests we wanted to and now need to study the data overnight. The performance wasn't fantastic today, but I am not worried for the rest of the weekend."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"We have become used to talking about running a 'normal' Friday of tyre evaluation and minor set-up changes on the opening day of each Grand Prix this year. However, Monza puts us in a unique position as we tested here just last week for three days, and completed over 3500 km."
"As a result, our Friday programme did not need to be as extensive as usual, and we only ran in the second practice session to get confirmation of the tyre performance and check the car over. Both Michelin tyres look very consistent and although we have some fine-tuning to do on the car balance, the drivers were happy with the handling. We have made a solid start to our weekend, and expect to see our relative performance increase tomorrow."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations:
"This is a circuit where every hundredth of a second counts under heavy braking, and in the high speed corners which dictate the car's speed on the long straights that follow. As a result, today was about testing a number of discrete variables on both the car and engine, and collecting the results we needed."
"Both engines performed well, including Fernando's new D specification, and the chassis team has obtained good results from its work. We will combine the different elements overnight, and expect to see our optimum package come together tomorrow."
"As always, the key to success will be finding the right compromise between performance and reliability. A non-finish would be catastrophic for our championship chances, and this is uppermost in our minds at the most demanding engine circuit of the season.
Fernando Alonso: 8th
15 laps total
Giancarlo Fisichella: 15th
14 laps total