The ING Renault Formula One Team began its preparations for the Turkish Grand Prix today as both Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet completed trouble-free practice sessions at Istanbul Speed Park. Track conditions were poor with low temperatures contributing towards a low-grip surface and a lunchtime rain shower giving a damp start for the afternoon session.
Despite this the team was able to complete a productive day's work to leave the team hopeful of a competitive performance in tomorrow's qualifying session.
Fernando Alonso: "The track conditions were certainly not ideal today, buy they were the same for all the teams and did not disturb our programme too much. As usual we worked hard and I was able to evaluate a lot of things with my car and gathered some interesting information. We still have to make a few more improvements tomorrow, especially with the general balance of the car, but today's performance is encouraging for the rest of the weekend."
Nelson Piquet: "My day was pretty normal. I had quite a busy programme with set-up work this morning and tyre testing in the afternoon. The aim was to feel at home in the car and to try to improve the balance, and we managed to do this because we did not have any problems during the two sessions. The track conditions were relatively stable, even though it rained a little bit at the beginning of the afternoon. Overall I think that we have prepared well, and I am determined to make the most of the final practice session tomorrow."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: "It has not been easy today. We were expecting low temperatures with the race being held earlier in the year than usual, but the temperatures have turned out to be even lower than we had anticipated. Consequently grip is pretty low, which is why we saw so many incidents on the circuit today. Both drivers are still looking to improve the balance of the car, but I am happy with the work we've done as we have been able to evaluate the tyres and looked at some different set-up options."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations: "We only visit this circuit once a year, and so our Friday programme was especially busy as we had to try a lot of different set-up solutions to allow the drivers to feel comfortable on the circuit. It is difficult to draw many conclusions from the practice sessions, but at least we were able to complete our programme without any problems. We also know that we were not the only team to suffer with the track conditions. It is therefore a good basis to work on for tomorrow."