After a busy winter period, the R26 took to the track today, on time and in line with the project plan established a year ago. Giancarlo Fisichella took to the track this morning in Jerez on the debut of the R26. Two installation laps were run to conduct traditional new-car checks, before the real work on the R26-RS26 package could begin.
It was a busy day with a clear objective: completing the maximum mileage possible to allow the team and driver to begin learning about the new car, which will carry the hopes of the Renault F1 Team as they defend their world crown.
The lengths of the runs increased steadily through the day as the team followed its programme without encountering any major problems – a positive start for any new car. “We had a promising first day with the R26,” commented Giancarlo Fisichella after completing 41 laps. “I felt comfortable in the car straight away, and I think this is a car with a lot of potential.”
The RS26 V8 engine made its track debut today without incident. A good initial level of reliability and performance allowed the team to complete nearly 200km, a positive total for a first run.
Day one of testing with the car marked an important milestone for a team that has worked flat out through the winter to ready the car. “The R26-RS26 project has put the team to the test this winter, and it was a special moment to see it run on time, on the day we planned nearly a year ago. It was a very nice opening day’s testing,” commented Technical Director Bob Bell.
Fernando Alonso was also in action today, concentrating on brake development with last year’s R25. He will wait until Thursday to get his hands on the R26, to form a first idea of the car’s potential during two days of testing.
Giancarlo Fisichella: “We had a very promising first day with the R26. I felt comfortable straight away, and the programme was to do as much mileage as possible, while proceeding with all the checks you have to do on a new car. This wasn’t a day to go for lap-times, and it was hard to get the tyres working in the cold temperatures. The V8 engine felt very good, similar to our predictions and it was reliable for the first run. My first impression is that this is a car with a lot of potential.”
Bob Bell, Chassis Technical Director: “Today was the first milestone on the road to the opening race of the season in Bahrain. The R26-RS26 project has put everybody in the team to the test over the winter, and they delivered today when the car ran on time, on the day we planned nearly a year ago. After our initial installation laps, our work proceeded smoothly. As with any new car, there were some minor issues to resolve, but we did not encounter any major problems and gradually began completing some longer runs. The purpose of the day was very simple: to put miles on the new package. From what Giancarlo could tell, the car is responding in the same way as the R25 – which is in line with our predictions, and our objectives. The engine’s first track test went very smoothly, and the V8 was behaving normally as it completed nearly 200km. All in all, it was a pleasing opening day of testing with the new car.”Technical impression
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