Honda retains its race driver line up of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello for 2007 and, unsurprisingly, the duo is confident heading into the new season. The team presented the new RA107 in Barcelona on January 25th and the drivers talked about their expectations. Button, who took his and Honda's first win in 2007, believes it will be an exciting year.
"For me, the most important thing going into this season is the atmosphere within the team and the confidence," he said. "It's something that's really been building since mid-last season. If we can build on what we had towards the end of last year I'll be a very happy man.
"I think it's going to be a fantastic season. I think that we'll see four or five teams up at the front challenging, and maybe 10 drivers. It's going to be an exceptionally exciting year."
The Briton has been out of action over the winter due to fractured ribs but was back on track at Barcelona on Wednesday, in last year's car, getting used to the Bridgestone tyres.
"You do have to be very smooth with these tyres," he commented. "For some drivers that might be difficult because it's not their way of driving and I think they'll never be able to change really. I'm lucky because I think my driving does suit the tyres."
While Button was re-acclimatizing himself to the cockpit, teammate Barrichello put the new RA107 though its initial paces. "It was a good feeling," he said. "We only managed to do 40 laps because, obviously, the first day with the car you have to stop all the time and check everything. (It was) 40 laps that I enjoyed very much."
The Brazilian appeared a little out of sorts in his first year with Honda in 2006 but now he feels more at home. "Last year was quite difficult, I had to jump into a car that initially I didn't quite like and I had to change myself into the style of the car," he remarked. "This year's seems a lot smoother. I'm feeling very confident for the season."
CEO Nick Fry talked about the investment put into the team -- such as the new wind tunnel becoming operational and additional machining facilities -- and he now believes there are enough resources for Honda to continue development through the season.
"We have now four times the number of aerodynamicists that we had 12 months ago, which brings us not ahead of the other large teams, but it brings us to at least on par," he said. "It's the first time we are starting to work on a level field with the other teams. We now have a similar number of people as McLaren, Renault and maybe Ferrari..."