Despite being prevented from featuring further up the timesheets, both Renault and test driver Nelson Piquet Jr reported that significant developments had been realised on the opening day of three at Spa-Francorchamps.

The Brazilian was back behind the wheel of the R27 for the opening day of the latest group test, charged with finding a base set-up for race regulars Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella to work from over the remaining track time. With Spa having been revamped during its year out from the Formula One calendar, there were things to learn for both team and driver, with Piquet admitting that it was good to be back out on a track where he has had success in the past.

"I was happy to be able to do today's test on this circuit, which is certainly one of the most beautiful in the world," the Brazilian commented, "It's undulating and there are several sections with a succession of challenging corners, so it's very demanding. I had a small problem this morning but, this afternoon, we were able to cover a lot of laps and made excellent progress. I think we've got a good working baseline for the rest of this week's practice."

Piquet completed his F1 debut run at Spa - not a regular stop on the testing schedule - in fifth place on the timesheets, having lost a lot of the morning session with an electrical problem that took time to trace and fix. However, once back on track, the 2006 GP2 Series runner-up continued the planned technical programme, collecting what he and the team termed 'a lot of interesting data'.

"Our programme was delayed because of a glitch we had this morning, but we managed to get the best out of the afternoon and the results are very interesting," chief test engineer Christian Silk confirmed, "We're concentrating on preparing for the Belgian Grand Prix, but not only that, as we're also trying to progress in our overall development programme. We're working flat out.

"Nelson said he was pretty happy with the car's overall balance, even if we still have a little work to do in this area. We'll make a few more changes this evening to prepare for tomorrow with Heikki."

 

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