Kosuke Matsuura got his first taste of Formula One today when Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda gave him a one-day test at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain. The test was a reward for Kosuke's achievements as runner-up in this year's German Formula 3 ...
Kosuke Matsuura got his first taste of Formula One today when Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda gave him a one-day test at the Circuito de Jerez in Spain.
The test was a reward for Kosuke's achievements as runner-up in this year's German Formula 3 Championship and it was an opportunity for him to experience Formula One technology rather than a full test. The programme was designed to assess his driving ability, his technical understanding and the quality of his feedback. Also under scrutiny was his level of physical fitness.
The weather conditions were cool but dry as Kosuke climbed into the car this morning. After a brief electronics glitch delayed his departure from the garage, the 23-year-old Japanese driver was on his way for an installation lap before progressing to some 3-lap runs to help him acclimatise to the car.
Compared with his Formula 3 car, Kosuke was overwhelmed by the power, the impressive braking and the level of grip in the high-speed corners. He became increasingly confident with the BAR Honda 004 and made steady progress throughout the day, gradually increasing the length of his runs to give the team the opportunity to gauge his driving ability and to allow him to provide some feedback.
After completing 26 laps in the morning session, he swapped cars with Anthony Davidson to allow B.A.R's regular tester to switch focus from Bridgestone tyre testing to a continuation of his systems development work. He went on to complete a further 18 laps in the afternoon, achieving a best lap time of 1:23.154.
Commenting at the end of his debut test, Kosuke said: "It was an amazing feeling to be driving a Formula One car for the first time. When I left the pit lane to join the track I realised just what a big moment this was for me."
"I was a little uncomfortable at first because I was sitting too far back in the car but the team made some changes and that helped. I got more and more confident as the day progressed and I was able to keep improving my lap times. The braking was so impressive; this was the first time I had used left-foot braking since my karting days. The steering is very light and the acceleration is incredible."
"I have really enjoyed working with the B.A.R team, especially my engineer for the day, Andrew Shovlin. It was incredible to see so many mechanics and engineers just looking after me. It felt very special to have that much attention. I would like to thank B.A.R and Honda for giving me this amazing opportunity."
B.A.R Test Team Manager, Andrew Alsworth, commented: "Kosuke had a good first test today. He got used to the car quite quickly and continued to make good progress. After he'd built up his confidence, he was finding more time within himself with each run. He can be pleased with what he has achieved today."
Anthony Davidson enjoyed a positive day's running, completing 78 laps and ending his testing year at the top of today's times with a 1:21.000.
"I'm pleased with my day's work and delighted to end the year on a high note. We've made some good progress with our development work for 2003 and everyone is feeling optimistic about next season."