Reigning World Series by Renault champion Bertrand Baguette put in a good performance on his first day of Formula One testing after joining the Renault team at Jerez as part of his prize for lifting the title.

The Belgian quickly got to grips with the Renault F1 R29, progressing constantly throughout the day and establishing a good working relationship with the team. as he followed in the footsteps of predecessors Robert Kubica, Alx Danielsson, Alvaro Parente and Giedo van der Garde.

Right from the green light, Baguette was on track, impatient to get a feel for the car as he put together a series of long runs without making the slightest error. After 43 laps, the intermediate results were already positive.

"I especially did not want to make the slightest mistake in the morning," he commented, "The objective was to get the feel of this F1 while performing the programme that the team had set up. It was a great thrill to be behind the wheel of the car, that's for sure, but we also did plenty of work. My mission is first and foremost to properly carry out the complete test programme that we've prepared before going for all-out performance."

Back on track for the afternoon session after a lengthy debrief with the Renault engineers, Baguette completed another 60 laps and upped his pace markedly towards the end. With 105 laps to his credit, the Belgian finished his first day aboard an F1 car in ninth place overall.

"The rapport with the Renault team is very good - they've made me feel welcome and done everything to help me approach the day confidently," he revealed, "The working methods are broadly the same as in the World Series, except that I'm used to working with one engineer, whereas here there are a lot more! It's a little bit intimidating to face them at first, but we had some constructive and, for me, very instructive discussions.

"The cornering speed and the braking power are the two points that most impressed me [with the car]. We did a lot of work and made continuous improvements to the set-up. Once we'd got through to the end of our development programme, as planned we went for a lap time. Unfortunately, when we had the new tyres at the end of the session, we encountered exhaust problems and weren't able to bring down the lap time as we'd targeted.

"Despite that, this has been a very positive experience. I've driven over 100 laps and, physically, I feel great. I think I'll carry on with a whole lot more laps in my head tonight!"

Chief race engineer Alan Permane also spoke highly of the day's performance, praising Baguette for focusing on the job in hand.

"It was a good day for Bertrand and he quickly got used to the car and the systems," the veteran confirmed, "To begin with, we spent a bit of time adjusting the set-up to make him more comfortable in the car, but he suffered a bit with understeer throughout the day. However, he was very focused, sensible and didn't make any mistakes as he steadily improved his lap times. He reacted well to the changes we made to the car and worked well with the engineers by giving good feedback."

Renault completed its final day of testing with third driver Lucas di Grassi covering 123 laps, while Ho-Pin Tung also had the chance to drive a handful of extra laps in the damp conditions, adding to the 67 laps he completed Wednesday.

Conditions were overcast for the morning with a light rain shower just before lunch, leaving the track damp for the middle part of the day. However, as the weather improved in the afternoon, de Grassi completed the team's technical programme as priority was given to the continued evaluation of developments for 2010.

"Today was a busy day and we did lots of different things, including some performance work, some long stints and simulations for 2010," the Brazilian reported, "It was good for me to get back in an F1 car, and the programme over the last couple of days has given me a lot of valuable experience. We managed to complete the most important tasks for the week and hopefully everything we have learnt will help with the development of next year's car."



Loading Comments...