Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda resumed winter testing on Friday 9 January, at the Jerez circuit in Spain. The first test of the new year saw the team introduce a second '04 Concept car with its distinctive black and silver livery. Takuma Sato and...
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda resumed winter testing on Friday 9 January, at the Jerez circuit in Spain. The first test of the new year saw the team introduce a second '04 Concept car with its distinctive black and silver livery. Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson were on track for Friday and Saturday, after which Jenson Button joined Takuma on Sunday before undertaking a one-car wet test today (Tuesday).
On day one, Anthony experienced engine problems, which meant that he lost most of his planned running time. Seven red lights on the circuit also hampered the team's programme and he completed only 24 laps during the day. Anthony's objective on Saturday was to complete some longer runs in order to evaluate tyres against various traction control settings. He suffered a similar engine problem but was back on track quickly and still completed a trouble-free 94 laps, collecting useful data for the team.
On Friday Takuma notched up 81 laps on a set-up and tyre programme. However, his afternoon was brought to end early when he spun off the circuit hitting the tyre barrier. There was no major damage to the car and Takuma went on to enjoy a good day's testing on Saturday, completing an impressive 103 laps. He undertook an extensive Michelin tyre test, and set the third fastest time of the day with 1:17.924. Over two days he completed 815kms with the same engine, reaching Honda's target mileage.
Jenson Button joined Takuma on Sunday. The plan was for Takuma to continue the tyre test from Saturday. However, Takuma only managed to complete one of the planned 17-lap runs before he suffered an engine problem. Jenson's plan for the day was to complete some initial familiarisation runs, while evaluating Michelin tyres. He completed 39 laps before Takuma's problem brought the day to a halt.
Testing resumed this morning, when Jenson completed a planned one-car Michelin wet tyre test. Fog delayed the start of the day until shortly before lunchtime, but Jenson was still able to complete 76 laps on the controlled wet circuit, and set a 1:27.406, the second fastest time of the day.
B*A*R will move to the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona for its next two-car test session, which will take place 20-23 January.
"On Sunday we mostly did set-up work and did not get an awful lot done before we stopped running. However, we did a good few laps today, fully concentrating on tyre testing in wet conditions. We tested a lot of different types of tyres, which were all very interesting, and I think some of them look very good. It's difficult to compare times, because you don't know what tyres the other cars are running, and also the Williams is the new car. Testing has been good so far and I am looking forward to getting back in the car next week in Barcelona."
"Even though we had some problems, we made some good progress. We are still only running the '04 Concept car but everything is looking genuinely encouraging. We are undertaking a huge amount of tyre testing at the moment and also putting mileage on some new specification Honda engines. We worked on some set-up changes, which look good."
"We had a difficult first day as there were a lot of interruptions on the track and I also had a couple of problems. On Saturday, however, I completed 94 laps and did a lot of good work on set-up and reliability testing. Although it's difficult to accurately compare times, we have been setting some quick laps in the '04 Concept car. A year ago, we were a full second behind Ferrari at Jerez, but we are now setting similar times. This gives us every reason to be confident and determined to get the best out of the remaining winter tests."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"Alongside an extensive tyre test, the focus for this test has been on systems reliability and optimising set-up for the Michelin tyres. All three drivers have been able to drive the car in dry conditions, which is a big improvement on the previous Jerez test, and has enabled us to gather some useful data. The car has continued to be extremely reliable, and we have completed another two race-weekend distances."
"We have had several new specification engine failures, for which Honda has now identified the cause. Otherwise the cars have continued to run faultlessly. This level of reliability is very important for us as we work towards getting the best out of the Michelin tyres. Although we haven't been focusing on out-and-out lap times, we have been very happy with the performance of our '04 Concept car. We are now looking forward to getting our new car on the track in two weeks' time."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"It's a shame we had to cut short the test because of engine problems, but we have identified the causes and are looking forward to making up the time lost in Barcelona next week."