Strong debut for new Renault in Spain

Tue, 22 January 2008, 12:22

Renault’s 2008 car performed strongly on Monday as Fernando Alonso gave the R28 its maiden test run at a foggy Valencia circuit.

Not only was the Enstone built machine a full second and a half quicker than Williams’ similarly-new FW30, Alonso’s best lap was a few tenths clear of the time Robert Kubica set recently when the BMW-Sauber F1.08 made its debut.

Williams technical director Sam Michael, however, played down his team’s performance as a mere ‘installation day’ with test driver Nico Hulkenberg, who at one point damaged the Toyota-powered car’s floor as he beached it in a gravel trap.

“The car is now
ready for testing proper tomorrow when Nico (Rosberg) will be driving,” the Australian said.

Spaniard Alonso, returning to Renault in 2008 after a disagreeable single season with McLaren, was also cautious after the R28’s debut run.

“Everything went well,” he said, “but it is still too early to try and compare our performance with that of other teams, and that was not the objective today.

“The good news is that we encountered few problems,” Alonso added.

The Valencia test continues on Tuesday, when most other formula one teams will join Williams and Renault on track.

Another foggy morning is expected.

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