Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda concluded its intensive winter testing programme this week with a four-day test at Silverstone in the UK, using its full race weekend driver line-up of Jenson Button, Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson. The focus this week...
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda concluded its intensive winter testing programme this week with a four-day test at Silverstone in the UK, using its full race weekend driver line-up of Jenson Button, Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson.
The focus this week has been on preparation for next weekend's Australian Grand Prix with reliability testing of the race engines and race engine systems. The '04 Concept car ran for three days and the third new B*A*R Honda 006 chassis ran for one day for this purpose. On the final day Anthony Davidson completed a shakedown of all three race cars for Melbourne on the national circuit.
As well as completing the planned programme, the team recorded the fastest time on the first three days. Firstly with Takuma on Monday, who recorded a time of 1:19.539, and then on Tuesday and Wednesday Jenson Button topped the timesheets.
B*A*R has now completed almost 21,000 testing kilometres this winter, which compares with half that amount for the same period last year.
The race cars will now be flown to Australia in readiness for next weekend's Grand Prix, the first round of the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship. Following the race Anthony Davidson will undertake a four-day test in Valencia, beginning on 9 March.
"The first day of testing went well. It's been a little bit difficult to actually do any major tyre testing because the weather has been so cold so we have mainly concentrated on reliability work and making sure we have enough mileage on the parts when we take them to the first race. Everything went very smoothly and we completed our mileage on the engine. During the second day of testing we had a few problems that stopped us from running in the afternoon, but these are problems that we know we can sort out very quickly and we should have no issues when we get to Australia."
"My day was very straight-forward. I completed reliability testing for the Honda engine using the '04 Concept car, so the set-up work required was at a minimum. It was very cold but we managed another race distance with the latest engine so it was successful. It was really good to test on a Grand Prix circuit and to finish off our winter programme. It has been very intensive as we have tested every week this year and I am now looking forward to racing in Australia."
"Yesterday was all about putting miles on the engine and reliability checks before Melbourne and today I shook down all three race cars. The engines ran faultlessly all week and we seem to have got on top of reliability. It was my first proper time in the new car yesterday and I am now comfortable and have got a good feeling for the car. I was really pleased with my time as I have not been to Silverstone for two years so it was amazing to have the new car and be three seconds quicker than I have ever been here before."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"We have had a good test here with the majority of tests running exactly to plan, which gives us good confidence for reliability at Melbourne. Although this has been primarily a reliability confirmation test, we have been pleased that the car has once again proved itself to be quick at Silverstone, as it has been at the other test circuits."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development
"We've had a good final test on the engine this week, with no significant problems. We're all set for the season opener and just can't wait to get going."