The second day of testing for the Mild Seven Renault F1 team with the new R26 saw Giancarlo Fisichella complete nearly 300 km, while Fernando Alonso worked through a lengthy tyre development programme.
Work with the new R26 chassis continued to progress smoothly at Jerez in southern Spain today, with Giancarlo Fisichella completing almost 300 km without incident. At this early stage, the team's priority is simply to build mileage with the new chassis and engine package, without focusing on performance development. After completing several installation laps and short runs, Giancarlo Fisichella's programme therefore centred around long runs, which were only interrupted by red flags due to incidents involving other cars. His lap-times proved consistent, with both chassis and engine performing well.
In improved conditions relative to yesterday, with warmer track and ambient temperatures through much of the afternoon, Fernando Alonso completed an extensive tyre development programme with technical partner Michelin. Tomorrow, he will get his first taste of the R26 as Giancarlo takes over the tyre programme with last year's car.
Giancarlo Fisichella "It was another encouraging day for me with the R26. We did not run much this morning, but it was much better this afternoon when we managed some long runs. The lap-times look reasonable, but the important thing is that they are very consistent, because we haven't touched the set-up at all yet. It is hard for me to compare with the R25 at the moment, because I only drove the V8 power simulation for one day in wet conditions. So tomorrow, when I am in the old car, I can have a better idea of the step forward we have made. Overall, though, today confirmed my first impressions, that the potential is there with this car."
Fernando Alonso "So far this week, we have been working on car developments for this season, particularly brakes and tyres. We got a lot of running done today, but obviously I am really waiting for tomorrow and trying the new car. It looks very good, and quite similar to the R25 from the outside. The R25 was a very good car for the drivers, so I hope the R26 will be similar to drive as well. I am looking forward to my first run tomorrow."
Bob Bell, Chassis Technical Director "We had a slow start to the morning as we concentrated on installation laps and system checks, but after these had been completed to our satisfaction, we continued building our mileage with the new car, culminating in two longer runs in the afternoon in spite of interruptions owing to red flags. These went very well, with Giancarlo's lap-times indicating the chassis is handling consistently while the V8 engine once again ran well. Fernando will take over with the car tomorrow, and our focus will remain the same: putting mileage on the package without focusing on performance. It is still very early in our programme with this car, but the first two days have provided a very positive foundation."