Mild Seven Renault F1 Team completed a successful opening day's running of the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix at the Istanbul Park
circuit. In addition to the usual Friday task of making tyre choices for the rest of the weekend, the team and drivers spent the two
hour-long sessions learning the intricacies of the new circuit. Fernando and Giancarlo completed their planned running without any
major problems, and came away impressed by their first taste of the circuit and optimistic for the rest of the weekend.
Alonso, 38 laps in total, P7, 1:27.579 "It was good that we were able to run more laps than normal today, after saving
the engine a bit in Hungary, so that I could really get to know the track properly. I felt very comfortable out there, and really
enjoyed the sessions today: the circuit is challenging, with blind entries to corners at turns 1 and 3, plus a really unusual,
difficult corner at Turn 8, which is different to any other track. The car felt quite good today, with a nice balance but like
everybody else, we were lacking some overall grip on the new, dirty surface. Even so, I am quite pleased with our work today."
Fisichella, 38 laps in total, P8, 1:27.673 "I didn't do as much running as I would have liked this morning, but we made
up for it in the second session with lots of laps. My first impression is that the track is a really good challenge it is quite hard
to find the right line through the corners, and it is not easy to learn; in fact the only thing I might change would be the last
three corners, which are too slow! This is place where you need to feel really confident with the car to push, and I could only do
that properly this afternoon but the balance felt quite stable when I did, and the lap-times were OK, so I think we are in a good
position so far."
Pat Symonds, Executive Director of Engineering "Both drivers seem quite impressed with
the new Istanbul circuit. It is reasonably challenging, and combines a big mix of curves with a couple of good overtaking
opportunities. The grip levels seemed quite low today, but otherwise our Friday ran reasonably normally for a new track. Obviously,
we have a lot of data to analyse this evening, as we cannot rely on historical knowledge to inform our tyre choice; the process will
certainly involve estimating how the behaviour of the track and tyres might evolve as grip levels increase through the weekend,
before we make a final choice on our tyres. For a Friday, the balance was very good and any problems were down to the poor levels of
grip rather than any inherent imbalance with the car."
Denis Chevrier, Head of Engine Operations "Although
this is a new circuit for us, the job of the engine team was very similar to normal: selecting appropriate gear ratios and
establishing the cooling levels we will need during the weekend. We encountered nothing unexpected, and the day unfolded much as it
would at any other race, which is a tribute to the quality of the simulation work completed back at the factory. Both engines are
performing well, and we will build on this solid start to the weekend with our normal objective of achieving the best possible level
of performance throughout Sunday's race."