The third day of testing in Jerez today saw Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda putting 23-year-old F3000 Champion BjÃ¶rn Wirdheim through his paces at the wheel of a B*A*R Honda 005, to evaluate his potential as a test driver. BjÃ¶rn had a brief taste of...
The third day of testing in Jerez today saw Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda putting 23-year-old F3000 Champion Björn Wirdheim through his paces at the wheel of a B*A*R Honda 005, to evaluate his potential as a test driver.
Björn had a brief taste of the car in Mugello back in October, but today was his first full test with the team. Running alongside B*A*R's Jenson Button, he set a notable time of 1:21.311 and notched up a respectable 78 laps. Björn undertook some familiarisation runs to reacquaint himself with the car before moving on to a typical driver assessment programme, comprising a tyre test together with set-up and engine work.
The wet weather that has compromised testing for the past two days finally came to an end on Tuesday evening, leaving a damp track for Björn's first outings. However, after the track dried out and the weather improved, both Jenson and Björn were able to switch to dry tyre and set-up testing. With 15 cars on the track today, Jenson completed an impressive 90 laps and set the fourth fastest time, recording a 1:18.212 in the '04 Concept car.
The 4.428km Jerez circuit has been the location for the majority of B*A*R's intensive winter testing so far. Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson were in action on Monday and Tuesday of this week before handing over the reins to Jenson and Björn.
On Monday, Takuma set the fastest time of the day, a 1:25.931, in extremely wet conditions. In similar weather the following day, Takuma set the second fastest time with a 1:26.105, while Anthony was fifth fastest in the B*A*R Honda 005, recording a 1:27.781. The weather conditions enabled the team to undertake further wet tyre and set-up testing.
The times with both cars have been very competitive so far, in wet and dry conditions, and the team is encouraged that there have been no reliability issues with the new rear end package on the '04 Concept car.
Takuma will rejoin the test alongside Jenson tomorrow before undertaking a one-car wet test on Friday in the B*A*R Honda 005.
"I'm really happy with today because we completed almost 80 laps, which is a lot of running. I had plenty of time to get used to the car and there were no mechanical problems at all. I got a really good impression of the car and the team. All of the guys working on my car were very professional and made the experience very positive. I found it difficult in the morning as there were slippery wet patches and I was not sure of braking points, so I had to take it easy. This afternoon was much better as I was able to drive the car in dry conditions, which was just the opportunity I needed."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"It was a slow start to the day because the track started damp, requiring us to run wet tyres, but then we waited until the track was fully dry before starting our dry tyre programme. However, we have finally been able to carry out some dry tyre and set-up testing now. Jenson continued running the same engine that Takuma had started running yesterday, completing a race weekend distance with it, and the main focus of his running today was both wet and dry tyre programmes."
"Overall, the team was impressed with Björn's professional approach. He quickly understood the operation of the car and was able to follow the team's instructions well. Although his first running was in tricky, damp conditions, he made few errors and, after a delay while the track finally dried, was able to get a full afternoon's running in dry conditions. He has been able to give good feedback from the tyre programme and set-up work, supporting the comments of our race drivers."