Having officially unveiled the R28 to the media yesterday in Paris, the ING Renault F1 Team resumed its winter testing programme in Barcelona today. The team was operating a two car programme today for the first time this year, allowing both Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet to continue with preparations for the new season.
Both drivers, fresh from their appearance in Paris, were in R28s as the team continues to familiarise itself with the new car.
Fernando had a productive day and concentrated on improving the balance of the car as the track conditions improved. It was the chance to add further miles to the car following a successful shakedown test in Valencia last week. He completed 61 laps with a best time of 1'22:889. Similarly, Nelson spent the day working on set-up as he continues to adapt to the R28, covering 46 laps in total.
Fernando Alonso: "It was a really easy programme today, because on the first day the track is always dirty and not in very good condition. You need to run at least one day to get the track into a condition where you can test important things. Today we put some new parts on the car which we had introduced in Valencia, and we tried to evaluate them. Everything was positive and went according to plan, but tomorrow is when we will start the real programme."
Nelson Piquet: "I am still getting used to the car, so I spent the day trying to find a good rhythm. But we had a few disruptions to the programme, which limited my time in the car and we probably did not get as much done as we would have liked. But this is only the first day of running; we still have two days ahead of us, and Fernando had a good day, which is positive and we are certainly making progress."
Christian Silk, Chief Test Engineer: "This test was the first time we have run with two R28s, so it was an important day and there was a big effort from everyone. Both drivers had reasonable programmes, but to start with the balance of the car was poor so we had to spend the day working on that. By the end of the day we had found a reason balance and we were quite happy with the performance of the car. Fernando completed most of his programme, but Nelson had a few delays, so we can hopefully make some more progress in the next couple of days.
Fernando Alonso R28-01, 61 laps, 281 km, fastest lap: 1'22:889
Nelson Piquet R28-02, 46 laps, 212 km, fastest lap 1'23:367