Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda today completed a four-day test in Barcelona (25-28 March) with Jacques Villeneuve, Jenson Button and third driver Takuma Sato. The main focus for the week has been a programme of tyre, aerodynamic and engine development...
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda today completed a four-day test in Barcelona (25-28 March) with Jacques Villeneuve, Jenson Button and third driver Takuma Sato. The main focus for the week has been a programme of tyre, aerodynamic and engine development work, with the team also taking advantage of this final opportunity to test at the Circuit de Catalunya ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix in May.
Weather conditions were warm and sunny as Takuma embarked upon the first day of the test in the B*A*R Honda 005-01. In addition to the main programme, he worked with the team on addressing the problem that afflicted Jacques at the start of the Malaysian Grand Prix. He completed a total of 93 laps, posting a fastest time of 1:18.918. After his day's running he commented: "Today's test has been very encouraging. Our main focus has been the tyre and engine programme but we also began some aerodynamic development work. We achieved everything that we planned for today and, with the exception of a small electrical problem, the car was very reliable. Generally, this has been a very good start to the test in preparation for Brazil, where I will join the team in my capacity as third driver."
Jenson Button took over the reins on day two and got straight down to business with some crucial tyre testing. His morning session was cut short after 38 laps with a small gearbox problem but the afternoon session passed without a hitch. Jenson completed a total of 108 laps with a best time of 1:17.693.
Day three began with Jenson at the wheel and he enjoyed a busy and productive morning's running, focusing on final set-up testing for the Spanish Grand Prix. He completed 51 laps with a best time of 1:18.257. He commented: "We've had a really positive test in Barcelona and it was great to be able to put in plenty of laps -108 on my first day here. Our reliability is improving and we have done some very good Brazil-specific work so I'm optimistic that we can look forward to a strong race next weekend."
During the lunch break the team changed the car to Jacques Villeneuve's settings, who then took over the car for the remainder of the test. Jacques' best time that afternoon was a 1:19.239 and he completed 31 laps of the Catalunya circuit.
On day four, the Spanish sunshine turned to rain so the team reverted to wet set-up work specific to this circuit. A transmission problem compromised Jacques' running time late morning but he was back on track early afternoon when the circuit was still sufficiently wet for the team to run both types of the Bridgestone intermediate tyre. As the track dried, Jacques' quick laps were leading the times mid-afternoon but he ended the day with the sixth fastest lap, a 1:19.780. He commented: "Unfortunately, due to mechanical problems, we weren't able to get many laps in over the two days I was testing, however we did get some running in the wet which was good. We haven't been able to work on race set-up for Brazil, which is disappointing. The car is competitive but without that set-up work it's difficult for me to predict how well we will do at Interlagos."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director for Honda Racing Development, commented: "It has been a productive test. We have been focusing on drivability and have been able to gather lots of useful data because the engine has been reliable all week."
The lap count for the duration of this test is 348 - a total of 1642 kilometres. The test team now heads back to B*A*R's UK base as the race team departs for São Paulo and the Brazilian Grand Prix.