Australian GP: Honda preview

The Honda Racing F1 Team heads to Australia this weekend for round three of the FIA Formula One World Championship. Traditionally the host of the first Grand Prix of the season, this year's Melbourne race was delayed from its usual opening weekend...

The Honda Racing F1 Team heads to Australia this weekend for round three of the FIA Formula One World Championship. Traditionally the host of the first Grand Prix of the season, this year's Melbourne race was delayed from its usual opening weekend as the city enjoyed playing host to a very successful Commonwealth Games.

After a solid start to the 2006 season, with a fourth and a third position putting Jenson Button joint second in the Drivers' Championship, everyone at the team is looking forward to another successful weekend at the Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne.

The team returned to the test track last week with a three-day test at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy. Rubens Barrichello, Anthony Davidson and James Rossiter had a successful test, despite rain, and put some new developments on the RA106 race car through their paces in preparation for the Australian Grand Prix and the upcoming European season.

Rubens Barrichello:

"I really enjoy the Australian Grand Prix and it is certainly one of my favourite races on the calendar. The Australian people are so relaxed, always helpful and smiling, it reminds me of Brazil really. Melbourne is a fantastic place to be based but what I like most about the weekend is the race track with its great combination of corners."

"Despite the weather, we achieved some good work at the Vallelunga test last week and I was encouraged by the new ideas that we tested. So I'm really looking forward to getting to Melbourne, our car seems to be strong in all areas at the moment, and I think we should enjoy the weekend."

Jenson Button:

"Australia is a race that I always enjoy and having had a couple of races already this season, I think Melbourne is going to be even more special as we understand already who is quick and who isn't. Usually we don't know who is going to be competitive when Melbourne is the first race of the season."

"It's a beautiful city and I always enjoy travelling there very much. I'll be spending some time in Sydney before the race as well, working on my training and fitness but also taking some time to relax."

"The Albert Park street circuit is great for drivers but also for the fans as they can get that much closer to the action. We'll be hoping to build on the podium finish in Malaysia and using some of the developments from the test last week, I'm sure that we will have another strong race."

Gil de Ferran Sporting Director:

"Melbourne should be quite a different weekend from the first two races, not only is it a temporary circuit but the climate is expected to be somewhat cooler. Although we have been quite competitive so far, our focus is on continued improvements and hopefully the work put in over the last few weeks will pay dividends."

"Last but not least, the Australian Grand Prix remains one of the favourite stops in the whole Championship, the mixture between the town, fans and on-track action makes for an unforgettable experience."

Shuhei Nakamoto Management Board Member - Honda Racing F1 Team, Engineering Director - Honda Racing Development:

"Melbourne will be a new challenge after the heat and humidity of the first two races. On the engine side we have a number of improvements in the pipeline, which we will be introducing over the next few races."

-honda-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Rubens Barrichello , Anthony Davidson , Gil de Ferran , James Rossiter , Shuhei Nakamoto
Teams Honda Racing F1 Team