The Honda Racing F1 Team began its on-track preparations for the Bahrain Grand Prix today. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello completed a total of 96 laps during the course of the two practice sessions, ending the day in 11th and 16th places ...
The Honda Racing F1 Team began its on-track preparations for the Bahrain Grand Prix today. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello completed a total of 96 laps during the course of the two practice sessions, ending the day in 11th and 16th places respectively and separated by just 0.2secs.
Track conditions were a challenge for much of the day due to the sand from the surrounding desert being blown onto the racing line. As a result, the drivers took to the track quite late in the opening session and completed the bulk of their mileage in the afternoon, once a clean line had appeared and worked on a wide-ranging programme involving tyre comparisons and set-up work to suit this challenging 5.412km track.
Q. How were the track conditions today after the very windy weather we have experienced this week?
A. "The track was fairly dirty this morning with a lot of sand having been blown onto the racing line over the past few days. We sat out the first half of the session until conditions improved, completing most of our mileage this afternoon. After the first few runners had been out in the second session, the track cleaned up quite nicely and continued to improve."
Q. With the benefit of today's running, what do you think the team can expect from the rest of the weekend?
A. "It was a good day of testing today and we achieved some valuable tyre comparison work which will set us up nicely for the rest of the weekend. We do still have some set-up work to complete and we need to improve the balance, but overall it was a good start. We are hoping to break into the top ten qualifiers this weekend. It will be a tough challenge, and we will have a better idea of how our competitors are performing after tomorrow morning, but I'm confident we can give it a good shot."
Q. How are you feeling going into the Bahrain Grand Prix, the third consecutive race where we have experienced very high temperatures?
A. "The first two races of the season in Australia and Malaysia were very hot, so we are certainly acclimatised to the temperatures we are seeing here. This is a dry heat which is not as physically demanding on the drivers. From a personal fitness perspective, I'm feeling good and having three races in just one month is the best training that you can have. I have no concerns about the car operating in these temperatures as the last two races have proved its reliability."
Q. What have been the main set-up challenges today?
A. "The main challenge for me today has been with the brakes, which I struggled with for much of the two sessions. So our focus was on setting up the brakes and the car to satisfy the high braking demands of this circuit. Unfortunately by the end of the day, I was still having difficultly and losing time with the new tyres due to a lack of confidence getting on the brakes, so we have some further work to do on this tomorrow."
Head of Race & Test Engineering
Q. Just how much of challenge are the sandy and windy conditions here in Bahrain?
A. "There was very little grip for the start of P1, as expected and our program consisted only of rudimentary work in the first session. The track grip improves quickly here and the second session was very productive for us. The very fine and dusty sand can be damaging to internal components and is a particular challenge for the engine. The forecast is for strong winds for qualifying and the race. This will affect the top speed of the car as well as the cornering performance. We have to calculate this to decide the gear ratios and aero set-up."
Q. What can we expect from this weekend's Bahrain Grand Prix?
A. "Today's practice went very well with both cars working towards a race setup, so we can think in terms of a potential top ten qualifying result."