The Honda Racing F1 Team's Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello commenced their 2007 season challenge today as free practice got underway in Melbourne for the opening round of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The team's new 'earth' car ...
The Honda Racing F1 Team's Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello commenced their 2007 season challenge today as free practice got underway in Melbourne for the opening round of the FIA Formula One World Championship.
The team's new 'earth' car livery made its track debut this morning as the RA107 cars took to the Albert Park Circuit for the first of today's two timed sessions. Under the new Friday practice format, each session lasts for 90 minutes, guaranteeing more activity for the crowds on the opening day of the race weekend.
Track conditions were intermittently damp throughout both practices today. Jenson and Rubens ended the morning session in fifth and tenth positions respectively after all of the teams scrambled onto a drying track in the closing stages of the session. This afternoon, after further rain had made the conditions even more slippery, Rubens fell foul of the greasy last corner and spun off the track, gently nudging the armco.
"We had a straightforward day working through our planned programme and of course the changeable conditions gave me the chance to run the Bridgestone Potenza wet tyres. It is good to be back racing again, however we are struggling to find a balance and our position today is a clear indication that there is a lot of work to be done to close the gap to where we want to be."
"I had quite a good day and was getting into the groove and improving the car, apart from the small 'off' this afternoon, which put me out of the rest of the session. I just touched the grass, which was still wet from this morning, and that was it. I was generally happy with my times at that point as we were in the top ten, but overall we are aiming to do much better. We have a lot of work to do tonight to get to where we want to be in qualifying."
Jacky Eeckelaert, Engineering Director:
"Our plan for today was to run through our usual race preparation programme with set-up work during the morning session, then focusing on long runs in the afternoon. In view of the damp conditions, we adapted the programme slightly."
"Rubens' afternoon was brought to an early conclusion as he spun entering the last corner causing some damage to the car. Unfortunately we were unable to repair it in time to take part in the rest of the session. Jenson completed his planned programme giving us some valuable data to study this evening as we work to improve the balance of the car before qualifying tomorrow."
1st practice: 15 laps, 1:31.162, 5th
2nd practice: 30 laps, 1:29.066, 14th
1st practice: 12 laps, 1:31.737, 10th
2nd practice: 12 laps, 1:29.542, 15th