Daniel Ricciardo has completed his first laps as a Renault Formula One driver after the French team managed to prepare its car in time for its planned filming day on Saturday.
Renault left the build of the new R.S.19 late and was worried it would not have the car ready for the filming day at the Circuit de Catalunya outside Barcelona. As late as the team’s launch event on Tuesday, which saw last year’s R.S.18 presented in this year’s livery, team principal Cyril Abiteboul said he was “100% sure of nothing” in terms of the team’s readiness for the new season.
However, Ricciardo managed to complete a total of 21 laps in the new car on Saturday, bringing the R.S.19 2km shy of the 100km limit imposed on filming days.
“I’m happy to get a first taste of in the R.S.19 today in Barcelona and I’m looking forward to pushing on and learning more with the team over the next couple of weeks,” Ricciardo said.
Teams are allowed to take part in two filming days outside of the scheduled pre-season and in-season tests. It has become increasingly common for teams to use one of the days as a shakedown ahead of pre-season testing to allow engineers to run through some of the basic systems checks that could cost precious test time.
Renault joins Mercedes, Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Alfa Romeo in completing a filming day this year, with Ferrari scheduled to hit the track at the Circuit de Catalunya on Sunday. Williams was supposed to join Renault in running on Saturday, but had to cancel its filming day after falling behind schedule with the build of its new car.
The first full day of pre-season testing gets underway on Monday, with all ten teams due to take part.