The Honda Racing F1 Team began its preparations for the Belgian Grand Prix today with the notoriously unpredictable climate at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit keeping the team on its toes throughout free practice. The team used the two sessions to...
The Honda Racing F1 Team began its preparations for the Belgian Grand Prix today with the notoriously unpredictable climate at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit keeping the team on its toes throughout free practice.
The team used the two sessions to hone the set-up of its RA108s to the demanding 7.004km track. Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello completed a total of 91 laps as they continued the work carried out at last week's Monza test, where the team ran its Spa package.
A dry morning session was followed by mixed weather conditions in the afternoon, and although the wet weather tyres were not required, the drivers had to exercise caution on the damp track, with the cool conditions causing a few tyre-warming issues.
Jenson finished the day in 17th position with a time of 1:50.925s, while Rubens was one place further back with a best lap of 1:51.238s. The team will now analyse the data gathered today in order to find further improvements ahead of tomorrow's qualifying session.
Q. Spa is one of your favourite racetracks, but it looked like a tough start to the weekend for the RA108?
A. "Whilst it is great to be back at Spa, one of the most challenging and enjoyable circuits of the season, we did have a difficult time in free practice today. It was very hard to get heat into the tyres in the cool and damp conditions, which meant that I had little front grip which is particularly difficult here given the cambers in the corners. We also struggled with understeer. However we have a lot of data from the test last week and from our running today, so we will study this overnight and see where we can improve before qualifying."
Q. What issues did you face during practice today?
A. "I was happier with the balance of the car in the afternoon session, however we struggled a lot with the rear end which was very unpredictable throughout the day. The rain this afternoon did not help as we lost some track time but this was the same for everyone. At the moment, it looks like this track and dry conditions will not favour us, so we will be hoping that it rains heavily over the weekend."
Head of Race & Test Engineering
Q. What were the factors that affected your performance today?
A. "The biggest issue with our car here is that we are struggling to get temperature into the tyres with both compounds. It is not unusual for our temperatures to be low compared to others and these cool and damp conditions mean that you lose a lot of grip. We appear to be more competitive in the high downforce sections of the track suggesting that we have a little too much wing."
Q. How do you expect to move forward for the rest of the weekend?"
A. "Tyre temperature is always a challenge at Spa, however we made a positive step with Rubens at the end of the second session so there was some improvement. If the track improves over the weekend, this will certainly help. If this is the case, we expect to find increased grip and a step forward in performance as a result. We will also be looking at our aero performance closely for the rest of the weekend."