The ING Renault F1 Team was back in action today at the Fuji Speedway to begin its free practice programme for Sunday's Japanese Grand Prix.
Fernando Alonso, R28-02 Nelson Piquet, R28-01Free Practice 1: P5, 1:19.473, 30 laps Free Practice 1: P6, 1:19.743, 35 lapsFree Practice 2: P2, 1:18.426, 41 laps Free Practice 2: P12, 1:18.888, 43 laps
With last year's race weekend having been almost entirely dominated by wet weather, the team was keen to make the most of today's dry track with Fernando Alonso and Nelson Piquet running busy programmes. Between them they covered a total of 149 laps as they gathered circuit data, completed set-up work and evaluated the two compounds of Bridgestone tyres.
After a positive day, the team is in good shape and will look to continue its recent form with a strong showing in tomorrow's qualifying session.
Fernando Alonso"It was a trouble-free day. We covered lots of laps, which was the priority and that allowed us to advance with our programme. The first signs are therefore encouraging and we will now review our data and work on our settings ahead of the final free practice session tomorrow morning to be ready for qualifying."
Nelson Piquet"The circuit is interesting, not particularly difficult, and I was able to get comfortable with it quite quickly. We have made good progress with our technical programme today and although we still have a lot to do from now until tomorrow, it's definitely a good start and a sound basis to work from for the rest of the weekend."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering "With limited running last year in dry conditions, we really approached today as if Fuji was a brand new circuit. Our main focus as always was to sort out the tyres and we feel happy with the result, our balance is reasonable, and all in all it was a good day for us."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Track Operations "Today we worked on the usual things that we look at on the Friday of a Grand Prix weekend: tyres, the behaviour of the car with different fuel loads, gear ratios, and cooling. The day went smoothly without any major issues and we made the most of the good track conditions. It's still difficult to judge the hierarchy after the first couple of sessions, but today's results suggest we can have reasonable hopes for the rest of the weekend."