Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda completed their penultimate pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona today with Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button. Snow and icy conditions greeted the team on their arrival at the Spanish track on day...
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda completed their penultimate pre-season test at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona today with Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button.
Snow and icy conditions greeted the team on their arrival at the Spanish track on day one of the three-day test, limiting the drivers to installation runs until the circuit opened fully at 10.00am. However, the slippery track surface meant that the team ran with wet weather tyres throughout the morning. The circuit dried out enough in the afternoon for Jenson to start work on setting up the B*A*R Honda 005-01 but his day ended early with a gearbox-related mechanical problem. He completed 41 laps with a best time of 1:18.890. Jacques' running in the new 005-03 chassis was also affected by the cold weather in the morning. After a late start, a fault necessitated a full rear end change which meant that he was only able to complete 9 laps during the day, achieving a time of 1:19.710.
On day two, rain and cold weather continued to hamper testing with the drivers experiencing a lack of grip on the track and numerous red flags interrupting the session. Both drivers encountered hydraulic problems in the morning, which the mechanics worked into the afternoon to resolve. Jenson achieved a fastest time of 1:34.129 and covered 32 laps in total for the day. Jacques attempted to complete a race distance in the afternoon but was repeatedly stopped by red flags caused by other drivers spinning off. He was able to carry out a series of practice pit stops which went smoothly. His best time of the day was 1:39.757 and he completed 28 laps.
Weather once again caused problems on day three, with wet conditions preventing the team from running until after lunch. After completing a couple of warm-up laps, both drivers embarked upon a race distance simulation. Jacques' run was unfortunately cut short after 22 laps due to a recurrence of the hydraulic problem. His best time of the day was 1:29.332. Jenson's day proved more productive as he was able to complete the race distance without any problems. He covered a total of 75 laps and posted the fastest time of the day with a 1:27.518.
"We've had a disappointing test in general. We weren't able to complete many laps over the three days due to reliability problems. The bad weather didn't help either. The race team was here to work on race simulations and everyone worked very hard so it's a shame we were unable to achieve what we set out to do."
"The test got off to a slow start due to the weather and a few problems limiting my running time. We've made up for it today though when we were able to get a very good run and complete 75 laps. The car is consistent and we achieved a good set-up in wet-to-drying conditions so I'm happy that we were able to finish the test on a positive note."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director for Honda Racing Development:
"It's been a productive test for us on the engine this week. We completed a number of long runs without any problem, including a race simulation today. The engine's durability has been good and we have gained a lot more data. Now we are looking forward to the Imola test next week, where we will be testing the final engine specification for Melbourne."
The team moves to Imola in Italy next week for it's final test before the start of the 2003 season. Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button will test one car on 25-27 February.