Educational weekend brings pre-season testing to an end at Aragon Formula Renault 3.5 pre-season testing came to an end at Motorland Aragon over the weekend where Nelson Panciatici and his Junior Lotus Racing squad were looking to fine tune...
Educational weekend brings pre-season testing to an end at Aragon
Formula Renault 3.5 pre-season testing came to an end at Motorland Aragon over the weekend where Nelson Panciatici and his Junior Lotus Racing squad were looking to fine tune their preparations for the season ahead.
Whilst the previous two official winter tests had seen the team make early set-up breakthroughs, Aragon was to prove a far tougher nut to crack thanks to Saturday's two sessions being given over to evaluation of the low-downforce aerodynamic configuration (LAC) that will be mandatory during this season's sprint races.
After a solid first day's running in regular race trim, which included wholesale changes to the car's set-up and balance, the team felt confident of trying out the LAC settings for the first time. These include fitting a new single plane rear-wing designed to reduce drag and the removal of the bodywork's side-skirts.
Having spent the morning getting to grips with his car's unfamiliar handling, Panciatici improved by nearly a second to finish the day seventh fastest and only 0.2sec shy of second position, proving just how competitive Formula Renault 3.5 promises to be in 2010.
Nelson: "This two-day test has again proven very positive as myself and my engineer found good technical solutions to better exploit new tyres in qualifying conditions. In race trim, we can maintain good performance on worn tyres for a long time, while we also practiced pit stops, so I definitely feel ready for the first race.
"The championship will be very close and the smallest details will make the difference. You will have to be ready mentally to set a time in qualifying as the grid will be covered by only a few tenths. The management of the traffic will also be important as we will only have two, maybe three laps to use the potential of the tyres, and you must not miss that window."
Alex Somerset, Junior Lotus Racing Technical Director: "Last weekend was all about engineering our way around set-up issues so I'm very pleased looking at how far we've progressed over the two days. I was very impressed with Nelson's application. He didn't let his head drop when the car wasn't performing and when we got the set-up right he just went out and flew.
"He seems to find an awful lot of grip on old tyres and in race trim. He was happy, found a good feeling with the car and knows we have made steps and exhausted all the options. We now clearly understand what works for him and what doesn't."
Formula Renault 3.5 returns to Motorland Aragon as part of the World Series by Renault package in three weeks time (17/18 April) for the opening round of the 2010 season.
-source: nelson pancia