Following the launch of the new RA108 at the Honda Racing F1 Team's Brackley headquarters earlier this week, the team embarked on a three-day test programme at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. Chassis RA108-01 was the focus of an initial...
Following the launch of the new RA108 at the Honda Racing F1 Team's Brackley headquarters earlier this week, the team embarked on a three-day test programme at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
Chassis RA108-01 was the focus of an initial shakedown in Valencia last week in a pre-launch specification, but this week marked the first intensive test programme with the first two chassis, for which race drivers Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button were joined by test and reserve driver Alex Wurz.
Rubens began the test on Friday with some early acclimatisation runs in the RA108-01 before working through various set-up changes over the course of the day. He completed 55 laps. After driving the new car for just a few yards at the launch event on Tuesday, Alex then gained his first real experience of the RA108 in chassis 02, conducting an initial shakedown programme over 26 laps.
Jenson joined the test on day two when the team concentrated on a one-car programme whilst awaiting the arrival of further development parts for chassis RA108-01. He completed a total of 56 laps after a productive day's running, working through set-up options to develop the balance of the car.
Rubens and Jenson worked side by side for the third and final day of running today, once again focusing on chassis set-up options. A mid-afternoon downpour cut short their dry running programmes, however the wet conditions enabled the team to gather some useful data as both drivers ran the car for the first time in cold and damp conditions without traction control. Rubens completed a total of 84 laps whilst Jenson covered 86 laps.
The team's pre-season testing programme will now move to Jerez on 12-13-14 February.
"I am pleased with the reliability of the car. Generally, we have made some progress this week but there is still a lot of work to be done in the forthcoming tests. The car is completely new which means we are starting from zero in terms of developing the set-up. We are also experiencing some drivability issues as we work with the new ECU. The weather conditions today meant that I was able to get my first wet running in without traction control, which was good. On to Jerez next as we continue to keep pushing forward with developing the car."
"It was good to run in the car at its first proper test since the launch. There is plenty of potential in terms of working on the speed of the car in the coming tests and this will come as we continue to make progress with the set-up. At this stage I am happy that reliability is certainly on our side. "
"It was good to finally experience the new car for the first time, apart from a few short yards at the launch of course. I conducted a shakedown of the latest chassis 02 and some aero testing. The car felt good although there are a few adjustments to be made to my seat and positioning in order to hit the ground running at my next test. I am enjoying getting to know the team and how they work, so I am looking forward to making the maximum contribution to the RA108 development programme over the coming weeks."
Steve Clark - Head of Race & Test Engineering
"At our first proper test with the RA108 and with the benefit of two chassis, our focus has been on basic set-up work and reliability testing. We still have a lot of work to do on developing the set-up as the RA108 is so different aerodynamically to its predecessor that it is going to take some time over the next few tests to optimise the chassis settings. We are also still working to adapt to the new ECU and this has proved particularly difficult in the low-grip conditions we have experienced. These challenges have been reflected in our speed here, especially on single fast laps, although our long run consistency is a little better. Generally, the work we have achieved gives us a good basis for the next test in Jerez, where we will aim to further develop the car."