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Renault reflects on opening test

NEWS STORY
22/02/2019

Renault's 2019 season preparations got off to an encouraging start this week with a four-day test at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.

The R.S.19 accumulated more than 2,000km (433 laps) over the test, almost double its lap count at the first test in 2018, which had been limited due to adverse climatic conditions.

The programme focused on building mileage, validating parts available and allowing drivers Nico Hulkenberg and new recruit Daniel Ricciardo to develop set-up preferences.

Completing 247 laps over the four days, Hulkenberg posted the overall fastest time of the week in Thursday's final session with a 1:17.393 on Pirelli's softest tyres, the German has worked through a wide-ranging programme throughout the week testing various aero and mechanical development items.

Ricciardo, who drove in yellow and black for the first time this week, rounded off a positive week with the fifth overall fastest time of testing, set in Thursday's morning session. He posted 186 laps across the first test as he begins to develop his comfort at the wheel of the R.S.19.

"It's been a good week overall with no real surprises or big dramas," said Hulkenberg, "only small things that the team have worked hard to rectify. The car is an evolution from last year and so far, it's gone well.

"We've worked through our programme largely as planned with a lot of positive work done. We've been through a lot of different set-up work to see how the car reacts to discover more about the overall package.

"From now, it's important we do our homework from this week and put it into the second test. We should have more parts to try out on the car next week, but we have a decent starting point to build off."

"I'm starting to feel happier in the car and getting more of an understanding of my preferences with set-up," added Ricciardo. "It's been a good enough week, steadily increasing our ability, but you never turn it up to full during testing.

"It's been useful trying different things, getting new feelings, so that's been positive. There's certainly more there, there's a lot more potential still to extract. It's all close at the moment, but we're looking quite consistent. We're still running a little bit conservative but we'll see how it goes when we ramp it up."

"On the one side we are satisfied with our work this week having covered the equivalent of seven race distances," said technical director, Nick Chester, "but on the other side, we've had some minor reliability issues.

"However, finding them in the first test has meant we've been able to find solutions to improve our overall reliability for the second test and Melbourne. With the important change of rules and systems on the car, we have elected to cover a lot of performance work to identify the main characteristics of the R.S.19 and both drivers are heading in the right direction with set-up and becoming more comfortable in the car.

"They both have similar feedback, which helps us push on the areas which need improvement. It's been an encouraging week, we're getting a good understanding of the overall package and we aim to build on that for the second week."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Barcelona, here.

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