Europe Free Practice notes - Renault


The Mild Seven Renault F1 Team began its European Grand Prix with a typically methodical Friday practice performance at the Nürburgring. Both drivers completed just two installation laps in the morning session, checking systems and preserving their tyres for the better afternoon track conditions. The second hour was therefore much busier as performance and endurance runs were conducted on the tyres in order make the selection for the rest of the weekend. Initial signs are positive, with both drivers relatively happy with the balance of the R25 and its performance. Renault F1 Team test driver Franck Montagny also participated in today's practice sessions for Jordan, finishing the day in 17th position.

Fernando Alonso: Everything was OK today – it was really a very normal Friday practice for us. The car balance is not yet perfect, but I think a lot of that is down to the track conditions, which were quite low grip today. I expect the grip levels will pick up tomorrow, which will help us gain in performance and also improve the balance of the car. A lot of different teams seemed to be competitive today, which means I don't think this will be such an easy weekend. But having said that, we are in our normal positions for a Friday, in the top ten, so things are going to plan.

Giancarlo Fisichella: My biggest problem today was yellow flags on my quick laps which stopped me from improving my time – I think I should have been at least half a second quicker without those problems. We still have some work to do on the set-up, as I have too much understeer on the way into the corners, but I think we can make the changes we need overnight. In terms of the tyres, we have a clear idea of the direction we want to go in, so that makes it easier to focus our programme tonight. We seem to be in our usual positions for Friday, so I think we can be quick tomorrow in qualifying.

Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: After the exception of Monaco, where we ran more laps than usual, this Friday practice represented a return to the norm for us, so we ran very few laps in first practice in order to preserve the condition of our tyres for the second session. Both drivers completed their programmes without any problems and, as is usual on Friday evening, the balance still requires some fine-tuning to be completely to their liking. Performance-wise, the weekend looks like it will be closely fought with a number of teams showing competitive pace today. As usual, we are slightly behind the Friday front-runners, but I am confident we will be fighting for the front rows of the grid come tomorrow afternoon.

Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations: The only unusual thing about today was that the temperatures were slightly higher than expected – this did not present any problems, but required some adaptation in terms of the engine cooling. Otherwise, we have now reached the stage of the season when our Friday programmes have become a familiar routine, and today was therefore spent calibrating the engine mapping and performance while looking to improve the car performance through set-up changes. As always, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions from the times, but we are pleased with our work so far, and will continue to search for more performance from the R25 and RS25 V10 overnight.

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Published: 27/05/2005
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