Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda today completed their second test of 2003 at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. The team are the first to field two brand new chassis and both race drivers were present to put them through their paces. Jacques ...
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda today completed their second test of 2003 at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. The team are the first to field two brand new chassis and both race drivers were present to put them through their paces.
Jacques Villeneuve had his first opportunity to drive the B*A*R Honda 005 on Tuesday. Rain overnight meant that the track was wet until early afternoon so his first laps were spent getting a feel for the car and finding a comfortable driving position. A mechanical problem mid-morning confined the car to the garage but Jacques was able to resume running in the afternoon in dry conditions. An engine problem caused the car to stop on track, cutting short the afternoon session. Jacques completed a total of 14 laps in his first day's running with a best time of 1:19.748.
Anthony Davidson resumed his testing duties with the task of shaking down the new second chassis. He was able to complete 31 laps and posted a fastest time of 1:19.712 before an engine problem curtailed his day's running.
Jacques had an encouraging second day, completing 56 laps (256 km) without any major problems. His main objective was to carry out further set-up work on the car, which enabled him to improve his seat position and increase visibility from the cockpit. His fastest time of the day was 1:18.799. Jacques was joined on track by Jenson Button, whose programme for the morning included some engine evaluation work for Honda whilst acclimatising to the new chassis. His track time was compromised by a mechanical problem and he was able to complete only 21 laps with a best time of 1:19.148.
Jenson continued today (Thursday) with some engine mapping work for Honda followed by a Bridgestone tyre test. Hydraulic problems hampered his running throughout the day and he completed 21 laps in total with a best time of 1:18.524. Jacques' morning run was interrupted by an electrical problem but once this was resolved he was able to undertake some longer runs this afternoon. He completed 32 laps with a fastest time of 1:18.195.
Commenting on his first impressions of the B*A*R Honda 005, Jacques said: "The car is better everywhere. The fact that it's got more downforce and the weight distribution is lower helps mainly in the high-speed corners. It's very stable in high-speed corners but also much more nimble, so you can carry more speed into the slow-speed corners and when you start accelerating it doesn't snap as much as it did last year. I'm quite happy. We are just waiting for bits now so we can work on the set-up."
Jenson added: "I've lost quite a bit of track time over the last two days but the car is performing well when we are able to get some laps in so we just need to spend more time with it. It's early days yet so I'm sure we'll be able to make a lot more progress in Valencia next week."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director for Honda Racing Development, commented: "It's been a frustrating three days as we've had some engine problems and other difficulties, so I'm not too happy! However, it's not unusual to have problems at this early stage and we did gather some useful data. We are now focusing on improving things for next week's test in Valencia."
The team moves on to Valencia in Spain next week for a four-day test from 28-31 January, with Jacques Villeneuve, Jenson Button and Takuma Sato carrying out the driving duties.