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Renault suffers niggling start in Renault

Vitaly Petrov hits the track in Valencia with the new Renault R31
Renault endured a niggling start to life with the new R31 after Vitaly Petrov turned the first laps for the new car during the opening day of testing in Valencia.

The Russian driver set the eighth quickest time at the Spanish circuit despite being restricted to just 28 laps due to an issue with a leak on a brake line, which cost him time on track.

It meant the team used the day as more of a shakedown for the car as it evaluated the new KERS system and the adjustable rear wing, while also looking at cooling around the engine and gearbox due to the location of the new exhaust system fitted to the car.

“Some mechanical niggles with the car meant that we spent more time in the garage today that we would have liked,” technical director James Allison said. “As a consequence our day became more of a shakedown of all the new systems than an opportunity to explore performance.

“We learned that the car runs comfortably within our design temperature limits and we gained some useful running on both the new DCS rear wing and the KERS. The next days of testing should bring us a better idea of the performance of the car.”

Petrov himself was pleased to get back behind the wheel after the winter break, although he admitted that he would have preferred to spend more time on track.

“It's great to come back for the new season and try the R31 for the first time,” he said. “It was not the perfect day because we had some mechanical problems and we lost a little bit of time, so we did not do many laps. But we did manage to check a lot of systems on the car, which was important for us and it looks like everything is working well.

“I tried KERS for the first time and it will take me a while to get used to it because it's clear the driver will be quite busy in the cockpit this year. I also tried out the Pirellis, but it was difficult for me to learn too much because we were not pushing too hard and we mostly did in and out laps.”



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