The Honda Racing F1 Team completed a four-day test at the Sepang International Circuit today in preparation for the Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend. The team ran one RA107 car for the event which was extended by a day due to wet conditions on Thursday.
Race drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello completed the majority of the running with Christian Klien rounding off the test programme for the final afternoon. Weather conditions for the majority of the week were extremely hot and humid providing the race drivers with a good opportunity to acclimatise ahead of the Grand Prix weekend.
Rubens began the test on Tuesday with an evaluation of the latest aerodynamic upgrades for the RA107 car. He completed 83 laps on a continually improving circuit, looking at the new aero package over longer runs as the day progressed.
Rubens continued his programme on Wednesday morning with early set-up work as the circuit cleaned up. Unfortunately, on his first full run, the car had an engine failure which caused it to stop out on the circuit. With a new engine fitted, Rubens completed an aero evaluation covering 35 laps. Jenson took over the test programme in the afternoon with early acclimatisation runs before working through a chassis set-up evaluation completing 24 laps.
Overnight rain meant that the track was wet for the majority of the morning session on Thursday therefore Jenson went out on wet tyres for the first time in the RA107 car. He then completed further aero evaluations alongside mechanical set-up work before a downpour soaked the track once again. Jenson therefore switched to wet tyres for a further two short runs, completing 95 laps in total.
Friday morning was once again hot and humid enabling Jenson to continue his planned aero work and he went on to complete 37 laps. Christian took over the car for the afternoon, however his running was affected by another heavy downpour after one run on dry tyres. He switched to wet tyres completing two runs to end the day with 24 laps.
"We have run through a lot of test items this week, mainly with new aero parts, trying to resolve some of the issues we had in Australia. The car definitely works better around the Sepang circuit, partly because braking stability is not as important here but also because we have made some improvements over the week. We have by no means solved everything yet and there is a long way to go but we have made a small step in the right direction. The weather has been up and down over my test days so I've also had the chance to experience some wet testing for the first time in the RA107 car."
"We had a very busy programme in Sepang this week to work on the car and improve it from Australia. Aero work was the main focus along with controls systems comparisons where we have found some new direction. The new aero parts have given us some positive results in improving the balance of the car and the consistency but we know that we have a lot of work still to do."
Jacky Eeckelaert - Engineering Director:
"Our programme for this week's four-day test at the Sepang International Circuit focused mainly on aerodynamic developments. As the drivers have commented, we are heading in the right direction, however further performance improvements have to come to get the car in competitive shape. We also tested some new developments on the electronics systems with positive results. We will now work as hard as possible to get some good results from the two remaining flyaway races in Malaysia next weekend and then Bahrain."