BAR Paul Ricard test summary 2004-04-14/16

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda have been making the most of the three-week break by completing a second week of testing ahead of the forthcoming San Marino Grand Prix. At the wheel of the B*A*R Honda 006, race drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato ...

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda have been making the most of the three-week break by completing a second week of testing ahead of the forthcoming San Marino Grand Prix. At the wheel of the B*A*R Honda 006, race drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato assumed the driving duties at the Paul Ricard circuit in Southern France, whilst third driver Anthony Davidson, attended Vairano in Italy.

Testing alongside Williams, Renault, McLaren, Toyota and Jaguar, the team utilised the technical 10-turn, 4.153km circuit to prepare for the forthcoming races in Imola and Monaco. The test programme focused on aerodynamic development, engine development and intensive tyre testing which concentrating on compound selection for the start of the European season.

On day one (Wednesday), Jenson completed an impressive 141 laps, setting the fastest time of the day - a 1:06.930 - which was over half a second faster than Kimi Räikkönen's McLaren. Thursday produced an even more impressive performance when Jenson completed further tyre tests and clocked up an impressive total of 150 laps (617 kilometres). This feat is a testing record for the team, which is testament to the current reliability of both the chassis and engine. Jenson also set the fastest lap time of the test for the second day running - a 1:06.301 - over a second faster than Räikkönen once again.

Takuma Sato took over the driving duties for the final day of the test programme at Paul Ricard. Unfortunately, due to adverse weather conditions, Takuma was only able to complete nine starts and 10 laps during the morning session of the day. Despite a disappointing end to the test, the team managed to collect significant aerodynamic and tyre data under more favourable conditions during the first two days.

Anthony Davidson commenced a three-day aero test at the Vairano circuit in northern Italy on Wednesday in the B*A*R Honda 006-02. Unfortunately, a fire caused by an oil leak caused extensive damage to the car and the remainder of the test at Vairano had to be cancelled.

B*A*R's next stop will be Imola for the San Marino Grand Prix, round four of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

Jenson Button:

"The test has gone really well for the team this week. We have shown good speed at Paul Ricard, completed a lot of laps and the car has proved to be very reliable. We have concentrated predominantly on tyre choices for San Marino. Although the Michelins worked very well on both short and long runs, it will still be difficult to decide which type of tyre to use in Imola. Overall we are very happy with the whole package; both the new aero parts and the new step on the engine. We are making positive steps forward and although we still have a long journey ahead of us before we can comfortably challenge Ferrari, I am encouraged by the results we have seen in testing."

Takuma Sato:

"The weather conditions at Paul Ricard today meant my one-day test there was over pretty much before it had begun. I was unable to complete any real preparation for Imola, where I have raced only once in 2002. Jenson has had three very good days here though, testing the Imola package, so it looks promising. We have taken some good steps forward and I look forward to next weekend."

Mark Ellis, Chief Test Engineer:

"Another excellent test for the team has been spoilt only by the adverse weather conditions that we experienced on the final day of the programme. We have once again put in a strong performance and shown the reliability of this year's car by completing over 1,200 kilometres in the first two dry days. The intensive aerodynamic and tyre programme was in preparation for Imola and Monaco and we are extremely pleased with the continual rate of development of this year's car. Jenson has done an excellent job in almost completing a race weekend's mileage on each of his testing days. Unfortunately, Takuma was very disappointed not to have completed many laps today due to the strong wind and wet weather conditions."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"We've had two more encouraging tests this week in France and Italy with good engine reliability. Jenson covered a decent number of laps on the new Imola-spec engine at Paul Ricard and set some good times. It was a shame we had to finish early due to the wet weather today. I'm happy with the progress we're making and am looking forward to Imola."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jenson Button , Kimi Raikkonen , Anthony Davidson , Shuhei Nakamoto , Mark Ellis
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams