Renault F1 s 2007 contender made its second appearance, this time at Jerez, for its official shakedown prior to the official launch in Amsterdam later this month. The R27 also attended Silverstone last Wednesday for aerodynamic tests, completing just 20km of testing.
Chassis R27-02 rolled out onto the Spanish track around 9:40 local time. The Renault, sponsored by ING this season, wore a minimalist livery and was piloted by Giancarlo Fisichella. The Italian was tasked with running basic system checks as well as running in the new chassis and components.
Fisichella s day was unfortunately cut short following an engine problem on lap 33 of todays test, although despite this he remained cautiously optimistic of the car’s abilities, “it is always a special moment to drive a new car for the first time, and it felt good to take to the track in the R27 this morning.”
“The car is very impressive visually, and straight away it felt comfortable to drive. The circuit was quite dirty with low grip levels, so it was difficult to make a proper judgment on the performance and the handling, especially as our running was cut short with the engine problem at the end of the day. But so far the car is reacting as we expected, and has the same comfortable feeling as the R25 and R26. That is a good sign at this stage, and we are looking forward to continuing our work tomorrow.”
Bob Bell, Technical Director added, “today s shakedown marked another significant milestone for the R27 project, and it achieved it on the day we had planned nearly a year ago. For that, we must congratulate the teams at Enstone and Viry on a fantastic job. However, as always with any new car, our work has only just begun. We encountered the normal gremlins that you expect on any shakedown, but the initial signs and feedback from Giancarlo were positive, and we will look to build on that solid start during the next three days of testing. We will be in the unique position of being able to run two new cars for the rest of the week, with both Heikki and Giancarlo getting to grips with the R27 at this first test of the New Year. We will look to put that mileage to good use with busy programs for both drivers.”
Tomorrow ING Renault F1 will see Heikki Kovalainen running alongside Fisichella in a second R27, again with the objective to test and understand component reliability and handling characteristics.