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Valencia day one - positive Renault debut 26 Jan 2005

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R25. Formula One Testing, Valencia, Spain, 25 January 2005. World © Bumstead/Sutton

Renault’s 2005 challenger, the R25, was third fastest at Valencia on Tuesday in its very first day of track testing. Fernando Alonso was less than half a second off the pace of the leading Williams of Antonio Pizzonia, despite only completing 15 laps in the new car.

Renault concentrated on an initial shakedown of the R25 and solving new-car reliability faults. Cold and windy conditions handling evaluation difficult, but the first conclusions were positive.

"I have a good first impression of the car, in spite of the delays on the first day,” reported Alonso. “The engine is powerful and pulls strongly from low revs, while inside the car, the driving position is comfortable. We did not do enough running to have a firm idea of the handling, and our aim for tomorrow will be to complete more laps in order to start learning about the car."

Renault’s technical director Bob Bell added: "Today was about resolving new-car reliability issues, which saw us stop the car out on track twice. However, the initial signs were promising and we expect to begin more substantial running tomorrow."

At the top of the Tuesday times, Pizzonio kicked off Williams’ three-day programme, their last test before the launch of the new FW27. The Brazilian completed 57 laps, while Williams race-seat rival Nick Heidfeld put in 60 on his way to fifth spot. Set-up was the team’s focus, as they had not tested at Valencia for almost a year.

Red Bull had a productive day, with Christian Klien second quickest and David Coulthard sixth. Meanwhile, at BAR Takuma Sato got his first proper taste of the team’s new 007 machine, as he went fourth. Team mate Anthony Davidson, also in a 007, was eighth.

Toyota completed the Tuesday line-up at Valencia, with Ricardo Zonta seventh and Olivier Panis tenth, both at the wheel of the team’s 2005 TF105 car. Testing continues at the Spanish circuit on Wednesday.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Valencia:
1. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:11.352
2. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:11.617
3. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:11.750
4. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:11.844
5. Nick Heidfeld, Williams (Michelin), 1:12.293
6. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:12.404
7. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:12.665
8. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:12.668
9. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:12.827
10. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:13.266