F3000 Champion BjÃ¶rn Wirdheim joins the team on day three The Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team was back in action this week, undertaking a three-day test at the Mugello circuit in Italy with third driver, Takuma Sato and test driver, Anthony ...
F3000 Champion Björn Wirdheim joins the team on day three
The Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team was back in action this week, undertaking a three-day test at the Mugello circuit in Italy with third driver, Takuma Sato and test driver, Anthony Davidson. This week's test was the last opportunity for B*A*R to carry out track- based development work prior to next weekend's Japanese Grand Prix, which is immediately followed by a six-week test ban.
Located in mountainous surroundings, the Mugello track is situated 30 kilometres north of Florence. Due to its location, weather conditions are often changeable, and the team experienced some cool, misty mornings before the ambient temperatures became slightly warmer. The 5.245km circuit features a long straight and various chicanes which make it suitable for technical testing, especially for engine and aerodynamic work.
Takuma's programme for the whole test was largely concentrated on evaluating Bridgestone tyre options for Suzuka. He completed 48 laps on day one, with a fastest time of 1:23.926.
Unfortunately, on his first day, Takuma put a wheel on the grass at the high-speed turn 8, where he was travelling at approximately 250kph, and lost control of his car before hitting the tyre wall. Takuma banged his lower left leg in the crash. He was checked over by medical staff at the circuit and, as a precaution, was taken to the nearby Borgo San Lorenzo hospital for a routine X-ray. There was some bodywork and suspension damage to the car, however it was repaired and ready to run the next day, when Takuma also returned to the driving seat.
On his second day, Takuma continued evaluating Bridgestone tyres, as well as spending time looking at developments with the suspension system. He completed 105 laps, with a time of 1:23.559. Takuma's main priority on the last day was to confirm the Suzuka tyre choice and development work with the Honda Suzuka specification engine. During the day he accomplished 88 laps, recording a fastest time of 1:24.070.
Anthony also worked on Bridgestone tyre evaluation on day one, before switching his focus to completing the mileage on the Honda Suzuka specification engine. He completed 82 laps, with a fastest time of 1:24.441. For the second day, Anthony concentrated on an intensive aerodynamic test, in which he gathered a large amount of data for analysis. He notched up 96 laps for the day, recording a fastest time of 1:24.213.
Anthony continued with aerodynamic testing on his final day today, and also worked on a suspension and brake development programme. He completed 70 laps today, with a fastest time of 1:24.031.
On the final day of the test, B*A*R gave Swedish Formula 3000 driver, Björn Wirdheim, the opportunity to spend the afternoon at the wheel of the B*A*R Honda 005. The 23-year-old took this year's F3000 Championship crown with two races still to go, and his talent has already been rewarded this season with a test drive with Jordan. With the day's test programme the main priority, Björn got into the car late afternoon and completed 19 laps. He completed one long familiarisation run and finished with a short five-lap run. During his time at the wheel, he recorded a fastest time of 1:26.728.
"It's been a very busy three days but we've managed a lot of laps and completed all the preparation work for Suzuka. We tried out a lot of new tyres, and have had a good result from testing them. We also did some longer-term development work. Usually on a test, we suffer with the weather but we have finally had three days of dry sessions. I am totally fine after the accident, I did 105 laps the day after with some long runs involved, and I had no problems at all. We didn't have any major reliability problems and have had a very good test. This has been a long season of testing, but very rewarding for me."
"I worked with Takuma on the first day selecting tyres for Suzuka. I tried out several options and hopefully we now have some good soft compound rubber for the race. After that, I concentrated on aero, brake and suspension testing as well as putting some mileage on the Suzuka specification engine, which ran faultlessly. We got a really positive result on everything we tested, and we got through the whole programme and more. The car was very reliable for the duration of the test. It was a tiring three days but well worth it."
"Although I didn't have long, I was really impressed with the car, and extremely impressed with the brakes. I haven't run in high- downforce before and there is a lot to learn. I've now had a brief taste of the car and the controls, and hopefully I will get the chance to have a longer run once the test ban has finished."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"We have had a productive test in Mugello, fine-tuning the specification for the Suzuka engine. It's always a special feeling to race in front of our home fans at our home track, and with the competition so close for fifth place in the championship, we are looking forward to an exciting finish to the season."