December 16, 2004
After the conclusion of Renaultís final winter testing session in
Jerez, Chief Test Engineer Christian Silk explained what the team
has accomplished so far and why they did not opt to run a hybrid
What were the teams objectives for pre-Christmas testing?
Firstly, to allow Giancarlo to acclimatize to the car, tires and
team; secondly to test the 2005 specification Michelin dry and wet
weather tires; and finally, to develop the electronic hardware and
software for the 2005 car using the R24. We tested for twelve days,
completed over 6,000 km and apart from some bad weather in Jerez in
the second week, everything went very successfully.
How has Giancarlo performed in these first sessions?
Extremely well. He was worked very hard and his motivation has been
impressive. He is clearly enjoying being back with the team after
three years away. Of course, it helped that we have worked with him
before and know him well, but he has already made a valuable
What about tire development?
We completed our first race distance on the tires in the final Jerez
test and the endurance runs looked promising. Michelin have made
very good progress on both the wet and dry tires and looking at the
advances we have made, we are pretty confident. There is a good
baseline from which to start development in 2005.
The team has chosen not to run a hybrid car Ė is that a
There are pros and cons to both methods, and it is a question of how
you choose to allocate your resources. Although the car we have been
running is superficially an R24, we have conducted a lot of work for
next season, notably in terms of familiarizing the drivers with the
revised downforce levels, testing 2005 transmission components and
developing the new electronic systems. We have made plenty of
What impact have the rule changes had on testing?
Firstly, the drivers have been acclimatizing to the loss of grip
from the reduced downforce levels. This has been particularly
noticeable under braking and traction, as well as through the
quicker corners, but they adapted quite quickly. From the teamís
point of view, we had to re-learn how to set the car up with the
revised levels of downforce and aerodynamic balance, while the
different tire usage will mean there are major changes to how we
work at tests.
Testing will recommence on 11 January at Jerez: what will be your
goals for that period?
Initially, we will concentrate on tire and electronic development.
Our aim is to complete our electronic development using the R24, to
ensure that our systems are ready for when the 2005 car begins
running. Tire development, on the other hand, will be on-going until
the opening race of the year in Melbourne. The major step after
Christmas will come when the new car tests for the first time in
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