The ING Renault F1 Team conducted a busy opening day of practice for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. Although the team tested here for three days last week, rain on the final day meant the technical programme was busier than usual for a ...
The ING Renault F1 Team conducted a busy opening day of practice for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza. Although the team tested here for three days last week, rain on the final day meant the technical programme was busier than usual for a Friday.
Furthermore, Monza is one of the most demanding circuits for the V8 engines, and all teams therefore sought to take advantage of the unrestricted engine mileage during Friday's two practice sessions in order to complete as much work as possible. Although the team has set encouraging times on this opening day, the field seems even more closely matched than usual, and only tomorrow will the true competitive picture become clear.
"Today went a bit better than normal, and I am more optimistic than at the last few races. We worked through the programme without any problems, we made good progress with the set-up of the car and by the end of the day, the balance was not too bad. Qualifying will be tough, especially because the times seem even closer than usual here at Monza. But it was a good first day and a positive start to the weekend."
"I had quite a tricky day. I flat spotted the tyres on the first lap this morning, which delayed the programme a bit, and I didn't find the same good balance that I had at the test last week. So the car isn't feeling too good at the moment, but we are working to improve the situation. However, reliability was good and we compared the tyres, which is the main objective on Friday. Now we need to work on the set-up overnight, and look carefully where we can make improvements. I know I can do a good job with the engineers, so I am confident things will be better tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering:
"The rain we encountered during testing last week left us with a little more work to do today, and the good conditions, coupled with perfect reliability, allowed us to get through what we needed to do. Heikki's day was slightly compromised when he flat-spotted his front tyres at the start of first practice, but we adapted the programme to suit, and we found some good set-up directions for tomorrow with both cars."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations:
"Although we tested here just a week ago, Friday was a busier than usual day for all the teams. Our technical programmes focused on more detailed fine-tuning than usual, but there is a genuine incentive to run as much as possible today. With unlimited engine mileage on a Friday, and given the fact that Monza is among the most demanding circuits of all for the V8, it is only logical that all the teams tried to work through as much of their technical programme as possible, especially given the good conditions. We managed to do so without any incidents, and we will be aiming to maintain our strong reliability throughout the rest of the weekend."
Chassis: R27-02, T-car
Free Practice 1: 1:23.671, 22 laps, 7th
Free Practice 2: 1:23.584, 38 laps, 3rd
Free Practice 1: 1:24.076, 21 laps, 11th
Free Practice 2: 1:23.848, 32 laps, 9th