The holidays are over and the preparations at Enstone are well underway with the R28 soon to make its debut. In the meantime the ING Renault F1 Team returned to action this week in Jerez to commence its 2008 winter testing programme.
Damp conditions greeted the team this morning, and with large amounts of water on the track, it was difficult for the team to do any meaningful running until around midday. Nelson Piquet Jr was in action, behind the wheel of the R27 and making his first appearance for the team as a race driver.
The programme for the young Brazilian involved set-up work to improve the behaviour of the car, although the damp conditions hindered the team's efforts for the first part of the day. In addition, the team carried out engine-mapping work to gain further understanding of the new electronic regulations.
At the end of the day, Nelson was happy to have returned to the cockpit after the winter break. At the end of the session he ended up with the ninth fastest time having completed 41 laps, totalling 182 kilometres.
Nelson Piquet Jr: "I would have certainly liked the chance to get more time in the car today, but the conditions this morning were not ideal for either wet or dry tyres and so we had to wait for the weather to improve. I'm still happy to get back on track for the first time this year and get my preparations underway. I am aware that there are lots of things that need to be done, and there is a lot of hard work ahead, but that is why we are here.
Christian Silk, Test Chief Engineer: "A good day for the team overall. The programme for the coming weeks means that the team will be very busy, but that is necessary as we prepare for the arrival of the new car. Nelson was back behind the wheel today for the first time as a race driver, but the wet weather this morning reduced his running. But, the conditions improved throughout the day, and he did a good job which enabled us to complete the programme that we had planned. We have a good basis on which to build for the remaining two days of the test."
Nelson Piquet Jr R27-06, 41 laps, 182 km, fastest lap: 1'21.595