On Thursday 21 February, Renault F1 Team drivers Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button visited the Enstone factory for an extreme physical test before their departure to Melbourne for next weekend's Australian Grand Prix. The pair will have to be in peak...
On Thursday 21 February, Renault F1 Team drivers Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button visited the Enstone factory for an extreme physical test before their departure to Melbourne for next weekend's Australian Grand Prix. The pair will have to be in peak physical fitness to cope with the intense heat experienced in Melbourne, where they will drive the Renault R202 in the first competitive test of the company's comeback season. They have been working with Renault F1 Team Performance Director Bernie Shrosbree since the end of last season, and both feel the intensive training regime will pay dividends when they line up on the grid.
Button explained: "Jarno and I are here to do a full body test before we go to the first race, and we will do this four times during the year, just to see how we are improving throughout the season. Every time, it is surprising just how hard it is, but it shows your fitness level is increasing and everything is getting better. I did a lot of training in November and December, and although we're calming it down a little bit now that I'm driving the car as well, we have still been doing a lot of fitness work."
Trulli has definitely felt the increase in training since he arrived at Renault at the end of last year. After a punishing session on the machines in the team's Human Performance Centre at Enstone, he praised Shrosbree for the fitness programmes which have helped his pre-season preparation.
"Bernie is helping us and it is good to have him," said Trulli. "It keeps us busy when we have one day off or maybe half a day off on the track and honestly I feel very strong for the first race and very confident.We have done quite a lot of training. We have also been in Africa, and although we didn't have a lot of time to train when we started testing, we still have managed maybe two days per week. I have got on very well in the team, they are great people, working hard, very motivated and very determined. This is what I was looking for."
Part of the drivers' off-season training schedule included a trip to Managing Director Flavio Briatore's retreat in Kenya, where there was more on the agenda than simple training. High altitude work on Mount Kilimanjaro put the pair through their paces and the whole experience was rewarding not only as a physical exercise but also for team morale.
"In Kenya, we got on really well," said Button. "We had good fun as well and that made the training easier. It's a good thing to do before the season to all get to know each other, not just working at the circuits but as people as well." So does Button think he is fitter than ever now? "Big time," he responded. "And it's just going to get better still."