Austrian GP: Honda Friday notes

PANIS HEADS HONDA FOURSOME IN AUSTRIA B.A.R Honda driver goes eighth fastest in Free Practice Oliver Panis (Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda) finished eighth fastest to head the Honda quartet in today's free practice for the Austrian Grand Prix. Takuma...

Honda driver goes eighth fastest in Free Practice

Oliver Panis (Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda) finished eighth fastest to head the Honda quartet in today's free practice for the Austrian Grand Prix. Takuma Sato and Giancarlo Fisichella (DHL Jordan Honda) recorded the 10th and 18th fastest times overall while B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villenueve finished 21st fastest.

B.A.R Honda's Olivier Panis completed 31 laps in the first session and set a best time of 1m12.653s, the 10th fastest time of the morning while team-mate Jacques Villeneuve completed 26 laps and set the ninth fastest time of 1m12.638s. In the second session Panis completed a further 35 laps making a total of 66, which is just five laps short of a race distance. The Frenchman improved on his initial time by over a second, setting a best lap and eighth fastest time overall of 1m11.382s. Villeneuve completed a further 18 laps in the afternoon and set the 21st fastest time overall of 1m12.574s, improving on his initial time by one tenth of a second.

Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato completed 21 laps in the first session and set the sixth fastest time overall of 1m12.569s. His Jordan Honda team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella set the fifth fastest time in the morning of 1m12.193s, completing 18 laps. Sato took a short trip across the gravel early in the second session but recovered and went on to complete another 21 laps and set the 10th fastest time overall of 1m11.537s, improving on his initial time by just over a second. Fisichella completed a further six laps in the afternoon, but his free practice ended just over 20 minutes into the session when he span at turn one and had to return to the pits. The Italian's best lap of the morning places him 18th fastest overall.

The conditions remained sunny and the track temperature rose to 28 degrees as Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello set the pace at the A1-Ring in Spielberg, closely followed by his team-mate Michael Schumacher. Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) and Kimi Raikkonen (McLaren) recorded the third and fourth fastest times while Allan McNish (Toyota) and Enrique Bernoldi (Arrows) completed the top six.

Shuhei Nakamoto - Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development

"All four Honda-powered drivers completed a good number of laps today - 178 between them - so we've collected a lot of data to work on tonight! Olivier has almost done a race distance already. In any case, all the drivers were concentrating on their set-up for Sunday, so I don't think today's times are necessarily a good indication for qualifying tomorrow."

Olivier Panis Position: 8th

"It may look like I'm pay-per-lap, which of course is not true! 66 laps is a great day's running and very positive for the team. I wanted to explore as many different options as possible and this obviously helped me to finish 8th today with a race set-up I'm very comfortable with so far. Bridgestone have provided a good tyre for this race so we're in a good position to start working towards qualifying now."

Takuma Sato Position: 10th

"I am quite happy with today, although we lost grip this afternoon. It's difficult to get the right balance at this track, but we did some good back-to-back aero tests and I think the new wing is a positive step for the EJ12. We didn't do any runs with new tyres, which most other teams did, so that probably had a reflection on our times. We had no mechanical problems and I feel I've learned the circuit very quickly. It's a nice circuit, but you just have to get the right combination in the high-speed corners. I'm looking forward to tomorrow."

Giancarlo Fisichella Position: 18th

"It was a good first session but then in the second one I made a little mistake at turn one and spun off. Everybody was struggling with grip today and it's easy to make errors. The new wing makes the handling better and we will run with that tomorrow. I've got a lot to do in the morning."

Jacques Villeneuve Position: 21st

"Obviously 21st is not where I should be today but I didn't get enough running to improve the set-up. I struggled with a lack of grip this morning so we changed a few things during the break which took a little longer than expected. I was late out for the second session and lost a lot of running time so we have no idea where we are overall. Olivier had a better day and seems to have found a good set-up. I haven't had enough time to improve the set-up so we have a lot of work to do to find what we need for qualifying."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , Kimi Raikkonen , Allan McNish , Shuhei Nakamoto
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams , Jordan