Renault Sport Formula One Team concluded the first week of pre-season testing with both Nico Hülkenberg and Jolyon Palmer taking to the wheel of the R.S.17 at the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya.
Nico started his day on a damp but drying track using Pirelli’s wet, intermediate and then the soft compound dry tyres. He completed the most laps of any driver in the morning session – 51 – with a best lap time of 1:24.974secs.
The team then changed the power unit ahead of Jolyon taking to the track in the afternoon with what was by then a primarily dry track surface. Over the course of 39 laps – using the intermediate and then the soft and medium compound dry tyres – Jolyon set the day’s third fastest time, a 1:21.778secs.
Jolyon Palmer: “It was another good afternoon even if I didn’t get much of a chance to try the wet tyres. We’ve continued to improve the car and that’s exactly what you want to achieve from pre-season testing. I think we can be really happy with where we’ve got to at the end of this first test and we’re definitely looking positively to next week. The car is improving all the time in terms of feel and pace with more to come than has been seen on the timing monitors so far.”
Nico Hülkenberg: “We completed a reasonable amount of laps in the morning, however the track dried pretty quickly so it was difficult to come to too many conclusions about the wet and intermediate tyres. We got some initial impressions on how the car reacts and feels on these tyres so we do have a starting point. The R.S.17 feels good so far, but we still have room for improvement and that’s what next week is about. We have a good starting point and base so we just need to work forward with more track time.”
Cyril Abiteboul, Managing Director: “We have learnt a lot over the course of this first test. It has been rewarding for the team to work with Nico for the first time in the car and both him and Jolyon have given us positive feedback regarding the R.S.17. Our teams back at Enstone and Viry-Châtillon have worked tremendously hard to produce the R.S.17 and we have seen the first glimpse of its potential this week. Our engineers have made strong progress over the past four days and we are confident that we will continue to do so over the course of the next test too.”