The Honda Racing F1 Team completed its second test of the close season at the Jerez circuit in Spain today. The main focus of this week's test was the continued evaluation of the Bridgestone Potenza tyres with Rubens Barrichello, Christian Klien and James Rossiter fulfilling the driving duties.
Christian and James began the test on Wednesday with cold and damp conditions meaning that both drivers went out on Bridgestone wet weather tyres for the first time. Emerging sunny weather ensured that the track was dry by lunchtime, allowing the planned test programme to begin. Christian continued his acclimatisation to the car as he spent the afternoon working to find a consistent balance, completing 90 laps. James also focused on car set-up work, running for 104 laps.
Rubens joined the team on Thursday, taking over from James. He spent his early laps finding a good balance before running through a suspension evaluation, alongside general car set-up work, covering 105 laps. Christian spent most of the day concentrating on an intensive aero programme before finishing with some electronics set-up work, completing 99 laps.
Heavy overnight rain in Jerez meant that the start of running was slightly delayed on the final morning. Rubens and James went out initially on extreme wets before switching to wet tyres as the circuit dried out. Rubens completed a couple of short set-up runs to look at engine control settings, whilst James worked through a longer tyre evaluation run. During the afternoon, both drivers continued with set-up work and longer tyre runs on the Bridgestone dry tyres, with Rubens completing 66 laps and James completing 109 laps.
"The car has felt better and more balanced this week than in Barcelona. We have repeated some of our work from last week, alongside some new evaluations, so we have a good conclusion for which direction to take the new car. I had a good two days this week, covering a lot of laps yesterday in particular and the car has been very reliable. As this is my last test of the year, I would like to thank the team for their hard work and the good times that we have had this year, and I'm looking forward to seeing how we improve in 2007."
"It was my second test with the team this week and again everything went very well. We were able to get on with some proper testing straight away and did a lot of work on the tyres to increase our understanding of how to get the best out of them. We also did a good amount of general set-up work with the car. I am feeling more comfortable in the car this week and I am really enjoying working with Honda."
"We have learnt a lot this week, particularly about understanding the tyres better. The weather conditions weren't ideal yesterday but we did complete some valuable running in the afternoon. The wet weather this morning gave us the chance to run on the extreme wets for the first time which was useful. In the dry conditions we worked on the balance of the car and improving the balance for long runs."
Mark Ellis - Chief Engineer Vehicle Performance:
"We have had another very productive week, working to acclimatise to the new Bridgestone tyres. Since last week's test in Barcelona, we have been analysing all the data gathered, which has provided us with some new and interesting directions for the car set-up. These have proven to be successful and reflected in our competitiveness this week. This week's changeable weather conditions have also allowed us to work with the new wet weather tyres which have also performed consistently."
The Honda Racing F1 Team will complete its final test of 2006 at the Jerez circuit next week from Wednesday 13 - Friday 15 December.