Renault unconcerned by poor first test
|By Jonathan Noble||Thursday, January 29th 2009, 14:02 GMT|
Renault have played down what they admit was a 'disappointing' first test of their new R29, and are confident the car will improve significantly over the next few weeks.
Former world champion Fernando Alonso was the slowest of the 2009 runners on the only day of dry running in Portugal last week - two seconds adrift of the new Williams FW31.
The early indications provided by lap times came after Alonso complained of poor handling and a lack of grip with the car during the test.
However, Renault's director of engineering Pat Symonds remains bullish about the prospects for the new car despite conceding last week's running had not gone to plan.
"I was disappointed," Symonds told this week's Autosport. "It wasn't a great test. We didn't really have everything quite the way we wanted it on the little bit of dry running we did.
"But we did come away with a lot of data to study and saw some things that we need to attend to. The aerodynamic maps of these cars are really very different and maybe we hadn't taken enough notice of that in the set-up.
"We can do better, which will make the car easier to drive and therefore better. But I really think this year more than ever it will be those last couple of tests that are the indicator."
Symonds has said he does not have a proper explanation for why Alonso's lap times were not so good in Portugal – although thinks the car is not as bad as the results suggest.
"I don't really know the reasons. I do know that when we ran the softer tyre we didn't get a time out of it for reasons that were not to do with the tyre or the car.
"Obviously I don't know what the fuel loads were, but they were long runs, so I don't think there will be a huge difference. I do think at the moment that the Williams is probably quicker than us, but I don't think it's by two seconds."
Symonds has said that the team have plans for major aerodynamic revisions for the car in the next few weeks, which will make the R29 look different to how it is now.
He added: "We can't find the final set-up until we've got the full aero package.
"I don't really know where we are relative to other people. I was impressed with the speed of the Williams – there's no doubt about that – but let's see what we've got in those last couple of tests."