Piquet and van der Garde on track for Renault

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The ING Renault F1 Team kicked off its winter testing programme today at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona. Recently confirmed 2009 driver, Nelson Piquet, was on driving duty and was joined by Giedo van der Garde as the 23-year-old received his prize for winning the World Series by Renault.

The team spent the day running two R28s, working on 2009-type set-ups and evaluating the slick Bridgestone tyres. Nelson clocked up 80 laps during a productive day, while Giedo completed a further 32 laps during his afternoon run as he acclimatised to the R28 which he was sampling for the first time. The young Dutchman adapted well to the ING Renault F1 team and its way of working, which should allow him to build on today’s technical programme when he gets another run in the car tomorrow morning.

Nelson will continue working with the team tomorrow and Wednesday, while Giedo will complete his test tomorrow morning.

Nelson Piquet: “It was a constructive day, although obviously we are right at the very start of winter testing and the cars will be very different next year. Still it’s nice to get a feel for how things are going to be with the sort of set-ups we will be running next year and with slick tyres. The car felt quite different today with these new settings, but the track conditions were good which helped us.”

Giedo van der Garde: “It was a great day. The last time I was in a Formula 1 car was over a year ago, so I had to get used to the speed of the car again. We improved every time we went out, working on getting a better set-up and hopefully we can continue like this tomorrow morning. It’s been nice to work with the team - they are a good bunch of people and I’m really enjoying the experience.”

Christian Silk, Chief Test Engineer: “It’s nice to be back testing again after a break and obviously with new rules coming into force next year, it’s going to be an interesting winter test period. We had a good first day of the programme with no major problems and we learnt what we needed to as we worked on 2009-type set-ups with slick tyres. Giedo had had a good first day with us: he has limited experience of Formula 1 and so it was a learning process, but it was a positive session and he worked well with the engineers. We’ll debrief with him tonight and give him another run out tomorrow morning.”

Nelson Piquet, R28-04, 80 laps, 372 km, fastest lap 1:22.560
Giedo van der Garde, R28-05, 32 laps, 149 km, fastest lap 1:24.908