The ING Renault F1 Team continued its preparations for 2008 today with Fernando Alonso taking over driving responsibilities from Nelson Piquet Junior. It was an important day as it was Fernando’s first appearance in Renault colours since being confirmed as a 2008 race driver in December.
Arriving at the Jerez circuit yesterday evening, the Spaniard spoke to the engineers to understand how the first day of the programme had gone, and to prepare for his two days work with the ING Renault F1 Team. His first day behind the wheel gave the Spaniard the opportunity to drive a car in accordance with the 2008 electronic regulations, and most significantly without traction control. It was also a good opportunity to reacclimatise to the team with which he has worked for six years in the past.
At the end of the session, having covered 70 laps, the overall result was an encouraging first day as Fernando Alonso topped the timesheet with a best lap of 1’19.503.
Fernando Alonso: “The result of my first day in the car is encouraging. I could not wait to drive again, but at the same time I was a bit tentative. I quickly settled back in to the team and everything went well. We made good progress throughout the day, but there is a lot still to do. I had to adapt at first to the car and get used to driving the car without traction control, but I am convinced that that soon I will be used to this and will not remember what is was like to drive with traction control."
Christian Silk, Test Chief Engineer: “The whole team was very happy to have Fernando back today. It is a bit like he was never away, and he was very relaxed for the whole day. There was a great deal to discuss with the engineers and we covered a lot of ground and so it has been an encouraging day. We can now continue in the same direction and with determination for the season ahead."
Fernando Alonso R27-06, 70 laps, 310 km, fastest lap: 1’19:503