BAR Paul Ricard test summary 2004-05-11/14

Following last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, in which B*A*R produced a solid two-car points finish, the team today completed a four-day test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. All three drivers took part in the four-day, one-car test, using ...

Following last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix, in which B*A*R produced a solid two-car points finish, the team today completed a four-day test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. All three drivers took part in the four-day, one-car test, using chassis 006-02.

The first day's programme (Tuesday) was brought to an early conclusion when third driver Anthony Davidson trapped a nerve in his back under heavy braking. He was only 2 laps into the afternoon's running when his back problem arose, and after being given the all-clear by the doctor at the trackside medical centre, Anthony visited the local hospital for a precautionary check-up. He is now receiving physiotherapy treatment and is expected to be fit and well for his free practice duties next Thursday.

Jenson Button joined the programme on the morning of day 2 (Wednesday), when he completed a short series of dry tyre runs before rain closed in. Jenson went on to complete a short wet tyre test and a total of 37 laps, setting the fastest time of the morning session - a 1:32.954. In the afternoon, he completed a wet tyre and aerodynamics programme and a further 35 laps, bringing his total to 72 laps for the day. His lap from the morning's session remained the fastest recorded time.

Takuma Sato took over the driving duties for day 3 (Thursday). A different circuit configuration was adopted for the remaining two days, with a Monaco-type layout being the preferred option. In bright, sunny weather, Takuma ran through the morning's full test programme, evaluating various tyre options for both the Canadian and European Grands Prix. Honda's target mileage was also reached when Takuma completed an impressive 106 laps and set the fastest time of the morning - a 1:10.830.

In the afternoon, a transmission problem during his installation lap confined him to the garage for the rest of the day. Further wet weather ensured that Takuma's time from the morning session remained the fastest time of the day.

The test team worked late into the night to fix the gearbox problem in order to maximise running on the final day of the programme (Friday). As a result, Taku was able to notch up a team test record of 151 laps and post the fastest time of the day - a 1:10.472.

Jenson Button:

"Unfortunately, most of my testing at Paul Ricard was done in the wet as the weather was pretty bad on the first two days. We tested a few different tyres for Monaco which looked quite interesting and the consistency seemed to be very good We also tested some aerodynamic improvements for next weekend's race. I was only able to achieve one run in the dry, which was just a baseline run, but overall the whole test will be good preparation for Monaco."

Takuma Sato:

"This has been a very successful test for me. Unfortunately, Anthony suffered a back problem halfway through day one, which was bad for him and I wish him well as he recovers for Monaco. Then on day two, we lost out to the weather, so the last two days developed into quite a big programme. However, we achieved everything we needed to, particularly with Michelin and the tyre options for Monaco and Nurburgring. The Honda development also looks promising. It was very encouraging to achieve so many laps, despite the gearbox problem. I think we can look forward to another exciting race weekend in Monaco."

Anthony Davidson:

"My test was obviously very brief as a result of the back problem I sustained on day one. It's always disappointing to finish early and not achieve the full tyre programme - and this time it really hurt! I've been having physio treatment since Tuesday and my back is on the mend. I'll certainly be ready and raring to go in Monaco, a track I've never raced at but have always dreamed about. This should be a good race for the team and as usual I look forward to playing my part in it."

Andrew Alsworth, Test Team Manager:

"Overall we've had a reasonably productive four-day test this week, however only Takuma was able to achieve his planned test programme due to some changeable weather conditions and minor reliability issues. The planned Michelin tyre test had to be compressed into a shorter programme, although we have already run some of the Monaco tyre options at an earlier test here with Jenson."

"Honda have successfully run two of their latest specification engines, achieving their target mileage. With Takuma setting the lap record on this configuration of the Paul Ricard circuit, we are now looking forward to next week's prestigious Monaco Grand Prix - a race we always enjoy."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"It's been a productive test for us with the Monaco-spec engine, which has run without a problem throughout the test. We are in good shape and will put up a good fight next weekend."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jenson Button , Anthony Davidson , Shuhei Nakamoto