The ING Renault F1 Team today completed its first of two three-day pre-season tests in Sakhir, Bahrain. The world champions enjoyed a particularly productive final day, collecting useful data and demonstrating encouraging levels of performance.
Heikki Kovalainen spent the day fine-tuning his preparations before the opening race of the year in Australia in three weeks' time. He concentrated on set-up evaluation with the car, conductive comparative tests to find an optimum handling balance and analysing the behaviour of the Bridgestone Potenza tyres. At the end of the day, Heikki was fifth on the timesheets, with a best lap of 1:32.032.
Across the garage, Nelson Piquet Jr completed his pre-season work with further mechanical set-up testing, with the goal of evaluating as many different alternatives as possible, in order to collect data on chassis handling and tyre behaviour. The Brazilian completed his programme without any problems once again, and finished the day ninth with a best lap of 1:32.334.
Christian Silk summarised the results of the team's first week of testing in Bahrain: "After initially working on endurance and reliability this week, we then moved on to a set-up programme. Everything went as well as we had hoped, and we completed our programme without any problems. This circuit is very different to those we have run on so far this winter, and our engineers have managed to complete a greater amount of testing than at any other session. Our car has been very reliable, and the car has responded well to the different set-up options we have studied this week. Both drivers were very focused for all three days. For Heikki, it's an advantage to gain further experience on the circuit where he will compete in his third Grand Prix. As for Nelsinho, it was a good chance to work with the race team. We have had some encouraging results this week, and we will look to build on them next week with Heikki and Giancarlo."
Heikki Kovalainen, R27-03, 86 laps, best lap: 1'32.032
Nelson Piquet Jr, R27-01, 102 laps, best lap: 1'32.334