The ING Renault F1 Team’s 2007 challenger broke cover for the first time today during its official shakedown at Jerez in southern Spain. Today’s shakedown, conducted with chassis R27-02, followed the track debut for the R27 on Wednesday, 10 January in Silverstone when it completed 20 km during an aerodynamic evaluation at the British circuit.
In an interim livery of dark blue and yellow, prior to the unveiling of its definitive 2007 livery at next week’s launch in Amsterdam, the R27 completed its first installation lap at 09:40 this morning with Giancarlo Fisichella at the wheel. His programme was subsequently devoted to basic systems checks and accumulating mileage with the new car. As always, the first day of running included detailed checks of all new components every time the car returned to the garage, with the team gradually increasing the length of the runs as the day progressed.
Fisichella completed 33 laps, and gave positive initial feedback about the car’s performance. However, his running was cut short by an engine problem during the final run of the day. Its cause will be analysed and identified by the team this evening.
The team’s work will continue tomorrow when it will run with two R27 chassis, one for Fisichella and one for team-mate Heikki Kovalainen. The objectives for the week’s work will be to run as many miles as possible with the new car, to begin building reliability levels and to assess its basic handling characteristics.
Giancarlo Fisichella: “It is always a special moment to drive a new car for the first time, and it felt good to take to the track in the R27 this morning. The car is very impressive visually, and straight away it felt comfortable to drive. The circuit was quite dirty with low grip levels, so it was difficult to make a proper judgement on the performance and the handling, especially as our running was cut short with the engine problem at the end of the day. But so far the car is reacting as we expected, and has the same comfortable feeling as the R25 and R26. That is a good sign at this stage, and we are looking forward to continuing our work tomorrow.”
Bob Bell, Technical Director: “Today’s shakedown marked another significant milestone for the R27 project, and it achieved it on the day we had planned nearly a year ago. For that, we must congratulate the teams at Enstone and Viry on a fantastic job. However, as always with any new car, our work has only just begun. We encountered the normal gremlins that you expect on any shakedown, but the initial signs and feedback from Giancarlo were positive, and we will look to build on that solid start during the next three days of testing. We will be in the unique position of being able to run two new cars for the rest of the week, with both Heikki and Giancarlo getting to grips with the R27 at this first test of the New Year. We will look to put that mileage to good use with busy programmes for both drivers.”