Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda returned to Barcelona this week for their second three-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya (3-5 December).
The main focus of the test programme was electronic software development analysis together with some brake development work and Bridgestone tyre testing. On day one, Anthony Davidson completed 96 laps - more than any other driver - with a best time of 1:20.363.
Back in the car for day two, Anthony covered a further 79 laps and achieved a fastest time of 1.19:422. The car ran smoothly until the end of the day when a mechanical problem caused it to stop on the circuit.
Day three of the test saw Ralph Firman make his Formula One test debut in the BAR004. The 27-year old British driver was invited to test with the team in recognition of his success in winning the Japanese Formula Nippon Championship this year. Anthony Davidson ran a systems check in the car this morning before handing over to Ralph, who then went on to complete 46 laps with a best time of 1:21.056.
Ralph was very pleased with what he achieved today. "I was given the opportunity by Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda to experience Formula One technology and to see what I could do. The biggest difficulty I had initially was getting used to the braking. It takes a few laps to get a feel for how late you can brake into a corner. It is also hard to trust the traction control system to start with. The engineers were telling me I could trust it 100% and once I started to do that it was fine. It took me about 20 laps to get used to the car, after which I was able to start suggesting small changes that made me more comfortable. I would like to thank the team for giving me this amazing opportunity."
Ralph was joined on track by Jacques Villeneuve who was testing for the first time since the end of the season. Jacques took the opportunity to evaluate the work that the team have carried out over the last two tests. He also completed a tyre test for Bridgestone. He covered 74 laps with a best time of 1:18.924.
Commenting at the end of the test, Jacques said: "Today was not a bad day. We were here to test some electronic software for next year and we did what we set out to do without any problems, so I am quite happy."
The test team now move to Jerez where Jenson Button will have his first outing in the BAR004 on December 13-14. Another young driver, Kosuke Matsuura, will have his first taste of Formula One on December 15 after B.A.R offered him a test opportunity in recognition of his achievements as runner-up in this year's German Formula 3 Championship.