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Renault satisfied with R26 debut 11 Jan 2006

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R26. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 10 January 2006. World ©  Patching/Sutton Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R26. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 10 January 2006. World ©  Patching/Sutton Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R26. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 10 January 2006. World ©  Hartley/Sutton Rear detail of Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R26. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 10 January 2006. World ©  Patching/Sutton Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R26. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 10 January 2006. World ©  Hartley/Sutton

Tuesday saw Renault’s first day of testing with the car in which Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella will defend the team’s drivers’ and constructors’ titles.

Fisichella got the honour of debuting the R26 and the new machine completed its first installation lap at 09:10, prior to undergoing initial checks. More exploratory work followed, gradually building up the length of the runs. Despite the inevitably lengthy checks to on-board systems and components, Fisichella managed more than 40 laps.

"We had a very promising first day with the R26,” he said. “I felt comfortable straight away, and the programme was to do as much mileage as possible, while proceeding with all the checks you have to do on a new car. This wasn't a day to go for lap-times, and it was hard to get the tyres working in the cold temperatures."

The day also saw the track debut of Renault’s RS26 V8 engine, which ran without incident as it completed nearly 200km. “The V8 engine felt very good, similar to our predictions and it was reliable for the first run,” added Fisichella. “My first impression is that this is a car with a lot of potential."

Chassis technical director, Bob Bell, was similarly satisfied with the car’s first outing, commenting: "Today was the first milestone on the road to the opening race of the season in Bahrain. The R26-RS26 project has put everybody in the team to the test over the winter, and they delivered today when the car ran on time, on the day we planned nearly a year ago.

“After our initial installation laps, our work proceeded smoothly. As with any new car, there were some minor issues to resolve, but we did not encounter any major problems and gradually began completing some longer runs. The purpose of the day was very simple: to put miles on the new package.

“From what Giancarlo could tell, the car is responding in the same way as the R25 - which is in line with our predictions, and our objectives. The engine's first track test went very smoothly, and the V8 was behaving normally as it completed nearly 200km. All in all, it was a pleasing opening day of testing with the new car."

Fisichella continues testing the R26 at Jerez on Wednesday before handing the car over to Alonso for Thursday's and Friday's sessions.