The ING Renault F1 Team began its preparations for the Canadian Grand Prix today at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve in Montreal.Both Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet were on track, but it was a frustrating day with both drivers suffering from a lack of track time.
Conditions were damp and chilly for this morning’s first free practice session, but the track was dry by the afternoon, allowing the team to start some set-up and tyre evaluation work. Nelson Piquet concentrated on familiarising himself with the circuit, but lost track time in the afternoon with a gearbox problem. Fernando’s day also came to a premature end with a spin in the afternoon. The team now turns its attention to the qualifying session tomorrow and will try and maximise the final free practice session tomorrow morning.
Fernando Alonso: “I did not do much running this morning because we only have a limited amount of wet tyres and it made more sense to save them in case we need them later in the weekend. And so we waited until the circuit was dry, which was only the last ten minutes. In the afternoon we did some work with the two different types of dry tyres, and although we did not manage to complete the programme, we still have some interesting information that we will use to try and improve the car for tomorrow.”
Nelson Piquet: “My main aim today was to try and get used to the circuit, but that was difficult as I did not do as much running as I would have liked. It’s a very difficult circuit, which is quite bumpy in places and we run very low aero here which makes it a challenging place. I did more in the morning when the track was wet, but the conditions were constantly changing and it was difficult to learn much. Then my afternoon ended early as I had a problem with the car and so I couldn’t do much work.”
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: “It’s very difficult to tell anything from today. Obviously the weather affected the first session and our cars weren’t running at the critical time in the second session. Nelson had a gearbox failure and Fernando a simple spin, but unfortunately the car got grounded on the curbs. Obviously we ran a lot of fuel here because of the critical brake wear, and while we don’t know exactly how competitive we are, there is no reason to believe we are not in our normal position.”
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations: “We did not manage to complete our programme today, although the chance to run on a wet track this morning could be useful considering the weather forecast for the rest of the weekend. The other main aim of the day was to give Nelson the chance to learn the track, but he did not have the best track conditions and then he had a mechanical problem in the second session. So we have only been able to collect a limited amount of data, especially in comparison with our competitors. So we must try and make the most of the final free practice session tomorrow morning.”