The ING Renault F1 Team made a solid start to this weekend's 2007 Bahraini Grand Prix today at the Sakhir circuit. Making full use of the available three hours of running on a Friday, both drivers completed nearly 300 km as they worked through busy programmes of comparison between the hard and soft tyres, and set-up changes. Although the final positions appear poor, the feeling within the team was encouraging as both drivers felt the car to be more consistent than last week in Sepang. The challenge now will be to consistently reproduce these positive handling characteristics through the rest of the weekend.
Giancarlo Fisichella: My long run in the second session was very consistent and the feeling with the car was good. And then, on my quick lap at the end, I ran wide, so I know there is more performance to come over a single lap. The car felt more consistent to drive, but it felt good on Friday last week as well – then we struggled in qualifying. So our challenge will be to produce a good level of performance tomorrow. It will still be a very close fight to get into the top ten, but I think we had a good day today, and hopefully that can help us to a better result tomorrow.
Heikki Kovalainen: The final positions look worse than they did last week, but I think that the feeling about our competitiveness is much better. The car is better to drive than last week, and the changes we made definitely took us in the right direction during the two practice sessions. I am feeling more comfortable as well, so all in all I am quite happy. Tomorrow will be tough, but that is the situation we are in at the moment, and we will be fighting hard to get into the final round of qualifying.
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering: Although we were disappointed not to make it into the final round of qualifying last weekend, we nevertheless felt it was the correct decision to continue working on the car while running high fuel loads. This appears to have been vindicated today, as we made some reasonable improvements to the car during the two practice sessions. The times for the entire field show that the grip levels are much lower than they were during the final pre-season tests, but the relative competitiveness of our long runs was quite encouraging. Overall, we can be reasonably satisfied with our day.
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations: We last tested at this circuit over a month ago, and since then we have competed in two Grands Prix, and learned more about how to get the best out of the engine. That mean our work today focused on transposing this new knowledge onto the baseline we established during six days of testing at this circuit before the season began. The engines performed faultlessly, the straightline speeds were competitive, and the lap-times reasonable. Just like in Sepang, we fully expect to have a challenging weekend ahead, as there are no miracles in Formula 1, and improvements come with time and hard work. But we have made the best possible start, which we will look to build on tomorrow and on Sunday.
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