Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda concluded a four-day test (3-6 September) in Monza today where the team have been preparing for next weekend's Italian Grand Prix. As this was the first test since the expiry of the 7-week ban, B.A.R have been working ...
Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda concluded a four-day test (3-6 September) in Monza today where the team have been preparing for next weekend's Italian Grand Prix. As this was the first test since the expiry of the 7-week ban, B.A.R have been working through a very comprehensive programme featuring two cars and four drivers - Jacques Villeneuve, Olivier Panis, Anthony Davidson and Patrick Lemarie.
The main elements of the test were a Bridgestone tyre programme and an exploration of the aero updates for the forthcoming race, coupled with some electronic development work and testing the latest Honda engine.
Back in the saddle for B.A.R after his two-race stint for Minardi, Anthony kicked off the first day of testing for the team and clearly had the bit between his teeth as he notched up the second fastest time of the day - a 1:25.186 compared with Michael Schumacher's lead time of 1:24.584. Patrick Lemarie was also in the car on day 1 and posted the 8th fastest time of 1:26.487. The day's running was frustrated by the arrival of heavy rain but Anthony managed to complete 78 laps nonetheless and the team gathered some good initial data.
On day 2, Olivier Panis and Jacques Villeneuve took over the reins and were greeted by wet weather which continued throughout the morning. Their first day's running was therefore dictated by the rain so the team took this opportunity to work on their wet set-up. Olivier completed 40 laps and posted the fifth fastest time of the day - a 1:24.84. Jacques lost running time after an engine failure and was disappointed to end the day 11th with a best time of 1:26.16 after 45 laps.
Thursday brought improved weather conditions as both Jacques and Olivier embarked on their final day's testing. Jacques completed 52 laps and posted the 7th fastest time - a 1:24.351. Despite encountering more engine problems, Olivier was close behind with the 8th fastest time of the day - 1:24.681 - after completing 32 laps.
Anthony and Patrick were back on track today for a final morning's running to round up the test. Once again, the weather had the upper hand so the team tried out the Bridgestone intermediate tyre as they completed some set-up and aero work. Anthony completed 45 laps and posted a best time of 1:24.371 while Patrick's best time was a 1:26.400 after 31 laps.
"It was good to be back testing again but we had a very busy programme to prepare for the next race. We have been working very hard on improving our reliability after a disappointing race in Spa and, while we did make some progress, I suffered more engine problems on Thursday. I was pleased with the overall balance though so we have to hope we can stay reliable for the race now."
"The wet weather on Wednesday frustrated our programme a little and then we lost the engine so it wasn't a very good start to my test. Thursday was a better day; I got plenty of laps in and made good progress with the set-up and exploring the aero for next weekend. Monza is a power circuit so it will really test the package but I hope we can stay reliable and make the most of the overtaking opportunities."