Renault drivers Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella reported no complications as they completed a successful opening day at the inaugural Turkish Grand Prix, expressing quiet confidence ahead of qualifying and the race, which follow over the next couple of days.

In addition to the usual Friday task of making tyre choices for the rest of the weekend, the team and drivers spent the two hour-long sessions learning the intricacies of the new Istanbul Park circuit, which was hosting its first ever race meeting as the F1 circus came to town. Alonso and Fisichella both completed their planned running without any major problems, and came away impressed by their first taste of the circuit.

"Both drivers seem quite impressed with the new circuit," director of engineering Pat Symonds commented, "It is reasonably challenging, and combines a big mix of curves with a couple of good overtaking opportunities. The grip levels seemed quite low today, but otherwise our Friday ran reasonably normally for a new track."

Alonso ended the day seventh fastest overall, having completed 38 laps of the new facility - more than usual for a Friday.

"It was good that we were able to run more laps than normal today, having saved the engine a bit in Hungary, which meant that I could really get to know the track properly," the Spaniard said, "I felt very comfortable out there, and really enjoyed the sessions. The circuit is challenging, with blind entries to corners at turns one and three, plus a really unusual, difficult corner at turn eight, which is different to any other track."

Like his team-mate, Fisichella was pleased with the way the R25 and its Michelin tyres had reacted to the circuit, despite noting that track conditions would likely change during the course of the weekend.

"I didn't do as much running as I would have liked this morning, but we made up for it in the second session with lots of laps," the Italian said, after clocking the eighth fastest time of the day, "My first impression is that the track is a really good challenge. It is quite hard to find the right line through the corners, and it is not easy to learn - in fact, the only thing I might change would be the last three corners, which are too slow!

"This is a place where you need to feel really confident with the car in order to push, and I could only do that properly this afternoon. But the balance felt quite stable when I did, and the lap times were okay, so I think we are in a good position so far."

 

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