BAR Monza/Lurcy test notes 2003-09-04

B*A*R CONCLUDE 3-DAY TEST IN EUROPE Team complete over 5000kms of testing The Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team headed to two separate locations in Italy and France this week to carry out three simultaneous days of intensive development work in ...

B*A*R CONCLUDE 3-DAY TEST IN EUROPE
Team complete over 5000kms of testing

The Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team headed to two separate locations in Italy and France this week to carry out three simultaneous days of intensive development work in preparation for the remaining three races of the 2003 Formula One season. The extensive programme saw five drivers undertake driving duties for the team, using four B*A*R Honda 005 cars.

Jacques Villeneuve and third driver, Takuma Sato, took the wheel for all three days between 2-4 September at the legendary Monza circuit, the venue for next weekend's Italian Grand Prix. Jenson Button joined the duo for the first and second days before test driver Anthony Davidson took over for the final session today.

The Monza programme provided the team with the first opportunity to carry out on-track development of the car since the testing ban was imposed seven weeks ago. A whole host of evaluation was completed, including work on aerodynamics, engine and intensive tyre assessment with Bridgestone.

Jacques completed 83 laps on his first day, posting a fastest time of 1:22.636. On his second day, Jacques achieved an impressive 137 laps covering almost 800 kilometres - the most mileage ever achieved in a single day by one of B*A*R's drivers. On his final day, he completed a further 75 laps with a best time of 1:22.094.

Jacques Villeneuve:

"We have had a very productive test. We have completed a lot of laps over the three days and done a lot of work. I've mainly concentrated on the tyre programme with Bridgestone and we have found some tyres that should be good for the race weekend. We also tested some new aero bits that worked really well. All in all, a good test. Monza is always a fun race weekend. There is a great atmosphere and I am looking forward to the race. It is a high-speed track which means a lot of straight lines, very few corners and very low downforce. It's a real power circuit. I hope we can stay reliable and fight for points."

Jenson completed 162 laps of the 5.8km circuit over his two days, notching up a fastest lap time of 1:22.499 in the process.

Jenson Button:

"It's been great to get back in the car and get some solid testing work done. Obviously Monza is a great track, and we have done a lot of work to prepare for next weekend's race. We really looked at the whole package, but in particular focusing on evaluating tyres with Bridgestone. The tyres we found should be a step forward and we also worked out a differential glitch that we had experienced in the last couple of races. Overall, the car looked good in testing. Over one lap we were very fast and now we just have to work on set-up and getting the car absolutely right for race day."

Takuma Sato was confined to the garage on the morning of day one, awaiting final preparations to his car before getting underway. He did however manage to complete 30 laps in the afternoon, recording a best time of 1:23.151. His second day consisted of tyre testing for Bridgestone. He notched up 53 laps and a fastest time of 1:22.731. Takuma's final day saw him carry out 68 laps on the circuit, with a fastest time of 1:22.465.

Takuma Sato:

"It has been a good test for me. Unfortunately we had a couple of problems on the first and second days which meant that I didn't do as many laps as I would have liked, but everything came together today and I did quite a lot of laps. For me, the programme concentrated on tyre testing, as well as working on developments with new aero and suspension. The car felt good on the track and the development with the tyres is looking very strong, and it will hopefully help us to gain us some good results for the rest of the season."

Anthony Davidson completed 15 laps with a fastest time of 1:22.889, before a mechanical problem put his car in the garage for the rest of the morning session. He was back out on track for the afternoon, completing a further 20 laps in the B*A*R Honda 005.

Geoffrey Willis, Technical director:

"This has been an encouraging test and we have completed over 5000kms with four cars over three days. The main focus has been on an extensive range of new tyre compounds and constructions, both for Monza and for longer-term development. We have found some good compounds for the Monza race and have successfully tested the new low-downforce package, which has given us the performance improvement we predicted. Coupled with our aero testing in France the team has successfully run four cars in two separate locations - a good sign of the team's determination to fight to the end of the season."

Over in Central France, the Lurcy test provided the chance for the team to evaluate American F3000 driver Townsend Bell, while completing essential aerodynamic development evaluation under the direction of aerodynamic engineer Willem Toet. The three-day session saw Townsend complete over 1500kms of straight-line testing on a 1.5km track, working closely with Honda engineers to collect data. On the final day, the engineers allowed Townsend to undertake a couple of starts for experience.

Townsend Bell:

"This whole experience has been fantastic. I did a lot of kilometres and learned so much. It's been a great opportunity to learn the systems on the car and the chicanes at each end of the track enabled me to find the lateral limit of the tyres and really get comfortable. The aim of the test was to help B*A*R improve so I tried to do the best job I could for the team and for Honda, and hopefully I have been able to make a good contribution. I have thoroughly enjoyed the test and even after three days of going in a straight line, I still didn't want to get out of the car!"

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director for Honda Racing Development:

"Overall we've had a good test at Monza and racked up a lot of mileage on all three cars. Monza puts the highest demands on engines of any track on the F1 calendar, so we're looking forward to the challenge and are ready to go."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jenson Button , Jacques Villeneuve , Anthony Davidson , Townsend Bell , Shuhei Nakamoto