narain fan, on Jan 10 2006, 05:36 PM, said:
...Toyota test driver Ricardo Zonta in the Japanese team's new TF106 car.
...Zonta's team-mate Ralf Schumacher was third fastest, ahead of world champion Fernando Alonso in a modified version of last year's Renault and Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer.
Both the Toyota drivers were using 2006 cars, according to PF1.
Renault happy with first R26 run
'I felt comfortable straight away' - Fisichella
Valuable mileage in the new V8 powered R26
The R26 completed its first laps today at Jerez, with Giancarlo Fisichella at the wheel. Fernando Alonso began working alongside his team-mate in the R25.
The Renault F1 Team today began its first day of testing in 2006, marking the occasion with the introduction of its 2006 challenger, the R26.
The new car completed its first installation lap at 09:10 with Fisichella at the wheel, prior to undergoing initial checks. More exploratory work followed, gradually building up the length of the runs in order to complete mileage with the new car.
Inevitably, running was punctuated by lengthy checks to on-board systems and components, with the team going about its initial programme in a prudent manner. The day also saw the track debut of the RS26 V8 engine on track, which ran without incident as it completed nearly 200km.
Driving last year's R25, Fernando Alonso's programme got off to a slow start as cold temperatures prevented useful running. He then concentrated on brake development throughout the afternoon.
"We had a very promising first day with the R26. 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 V8 engine felt very good, similar to our predictions and it was reliable for the first run. My first impression is that this is a car with a lot of potential."
Bob Bell, Chassis Technical Director
"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."