Jenson Button, Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson have all been in action this week for Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda, as the team's intensive winter test programme nears its conclusion. The Valencia circuit in Spain was the location of the three-day...
Jenson Button, Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson have all been in action this week for Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda, as the team's intensive winter test programme nears its conclusion. The Valencia circuit in Spain was the location of the three-day test, which involved two B*A*R Honda 006's and the '04 Concept car.
The main objectives of the test were to finalise tyre choice and aero configuration for Melbourne and to continue reliability running on the Honda race specification engines. The weather on the first two days of the test was cold yet sunny, and was ideal for the programme. Jenson set the second fastest time of the day on Wednesday with a time of 1:09.477, with Takuma fourth fastest.
The programme also went well on Thursday, but weather conditions deteriorated for the final day. Both cars only completed installation laps today before the team took the decision to stop testing due to unsafe track surfaces and the difficulty of testing effectively. Over the three days the team has added a valuable 1900kms of running to its winter test programme.
The B*A*R test team will move to the Silverstone circuit next week in order to make the final preparations before the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship begins the following Friday in Melbourne.
"We had a very good day of testing on Wednesday. Once again we concentrated on working with Michelin on different tyre compounds. We also concentrated on our tyre choices for the Australian and Malaysian GP's. Thursday went well, although it was a little difficult to find the correct balance, but towards the end of the day we achieved a reasonable result. We had some good long runs and worked solidly on reliability."
"The last two tests have been very important to us as we have had the new car and the race team mechanics and engineers. It has been good to see the team together and excited before Australia. I've been in the new car this week and we have had a successful test. We have looked at tyres and set-up work and completed a full race simulation. We have had a good couple of days, although unfortunately the weather has been very bad today and has really affected our running. The preparation is never complete, but the car has a good feeling now and I know we can race. The car is fast and reliable and I'm looking forward to Melbourne when we have the opportunity to show our performance."
"It's been a difficult test, but we have completed some useful testing of engine reliability, aero and brakes. In fact, we've obtained a lot of useful figures from the aero work. We have been encouraged by the engine reliability, as we haven't had any major problems. It's a shame that the weather has been bad today as we have lost a lot of track time. We now only have one more test at Silverstone next week before we go to Australia so we will be looking to work very hard to optimise set-up on the new cars."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"The focus of this week's test in Valencia was to finalise tyre selection for Melbourne and to confirm the final engine and aero specification of the car for Melbourne. We had a successful test completing all of our testing on aerodynamic parts and ran two more race specification engines to the full weekend distance. Unfortunately today has been too wet and cold to run productively, so we have had to cut the test short. We are encouraged by our notably improved performance at this track and we now have final shakedown tests at Silverstone before sending the race cars out to Australia."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"It was a shame the test was cut short today because of the rain. Until then we had continued to show reasonably good speed, although there were a few problems especially on the first day. We are still in a positive frame of mind, and will keep pushing forward next week at the last test before the season starts.