New Renault on track Tuesday 09 Jan 2006
Renault will become the third team to debut their 2006 car on Tuesday when Giancarlo Fisichella gives the R26 its first track outing at Jerez in Spain. Team mate and world champion Fernando Alonso will sample the car later in the week.
Both Fisichella and Alonso spent some time in a restricted version of the previous R25 late last year in order to acclimatise themselves to the reduced power levels of the 2006 regulations, but this will be the first time they have tried Renaults new V8 engine.
It was fired up for the first time in a complete car at the teams Enstone base just before Christmas. Since then dyno testing has continued at full speed at Renaults engine plant in Viry and the next milestone is this weeks maiden test, one of many scheduled for the R26 ahead of the opening round of the season in Bahrain on March 12.
"We have good results from the wind tunnel, and the engine is performing well in terms of reliability and performance, said technical director Bob Bell. Everybody is eager to start learning about the R26 at the track."
Renault have a four-day programme planned at Jerez, with Alonso, who gets his first taste of the R26 on Thursday, driving throughout. For the first two days he works alongside Fisichella, who will then hand over to tester Heikki Kovalainen for the remainder of the session.
The world champions are just one of numerous teams testing at Jerez this week in the first major session of 2006. Ferrari, Williams, McLaren, Red Bull and BMW Sauber are among those expected to join them.