Piquet tests Renault's 2008 configuration The Renault team kicked off its test session on the Monza circuit in Italy on Tuesday where after the summer break they restarted their development program. It is an important test session as it comes just one week before the Italian Grand Prix, so its aim is abundantly clear!
While the priority was obviously to prepare for the next two races on European soil, in particular the Italian GP, the ING Renault F1 Team decided to concentrate on the 2008 electronic set-up on its first day of testing. So Nelson Piquet at the wheel of the R27 went out without any driver aids to provide the team with his initial impressions.
He did several runs - generally long ones - and concentrated on setting up the car in this configuration. The data recorded will be analyzed by the team this evening, and again when it gets back to the factory in the framework of its 2008 project development program.
"The car was not really different; it was just a bit less predictable and slightly trickier to drive as it is less forgiving! It's difficult to be consistent as the laps unfold but I think I got to grips with it fairly quickly,” the young test driver said. “We've revised the braking load to adapt the car to 2008, and we concentrated on setting it up in this configuration. I think we've done a good day's work today with a lot of laps covered."
As the clouds began to gather this afternoon the team decided to partially revise its program and began testing for the Italian Grand Prix as the weather forecast for the next two days is not very promising.
The early data seem very positive and the team was able to complete its program without any difficulties. Nelson quickly got back into his stride in the R27 in this set-up. By the end of the day he had covered 94 laps, almost 542 kms, and set the 7th-fastest time in 1'25.360.
"It was really heavy today at Monza. Our program went off with any hitches, and we've recorded interesting data on our first day's testing in 2008 configuration. The car was reliable and the new on-board electronic systems worked without any problems so we managed to cover a lot of laps. In the late afternoon we began our preparation for next week's race as we're afraid that track conditions will deteriorate from tomorrow onwards," added Christian Silk, chief test engineer.
Today, it will Heikki Kovalainen's turn to drive the car in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix next weekend. He will run in 2007 set-up. Renault