Renault Unfazed by Slow Start

Renault boss Flavio Briatore was left far from concerned about the speed of his team's rivals during Friday practice for the San Marino Grand Prix after McLaren and BAR stole the show

McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa made full use of extra revs and newer tyres to set the best time of the day, but all eyes were on the return to form of BAR with Jenson Button setting the second fastest time.

Although World Championship leader Fernando Alonso could manage only the fifth quickest time, having completed just 10 laps, with Giancarlo Fisichella ninth overall, Briatore said he was upbeat about the team's chances for the weekend.

"That was good," said Briatore. "The car is good and we had a lot of fuel on board. We are confident. At the moment we have had no trouble at all, but we will have to see tomorrow because that is more important."

Alonso added: "Today was primarily a tyre test: we got good results on clean runs, and now have the data we need to make our choice.

"On the set-up side, we are still lacking in grip but I think it will come from the circuit as it rubbers in more on the racing line. The R25 seems quite competitive at this track, and that gives me good confidence for the rest of the weekend."

Fisichella was happy with the revised engine introduced for him this weekend.

"The new engine was working well and we did the running we needed to in order to find out about the tyres," he said. "The car balance is not yet perfect, but we have time tomorrow morning to fix that.

"It has been a good feeling to run in front of the Italian people here today, and I think I will be in a position to give them something to cheer about this weekend."

Previous article Sauber to Change Massa's Engine
Next article De la Rosa Unsure McLaren can Win