European GP: Honda Friday notes

OVER 150 LAPS COMPLETED IN TROUBLE FREE SESSION Honda-powered drivers cover over 800 km in European Free Practice The Honda-powered drivers completed a total of 159 laps and covered approximately 817 km in today's free practice session,...

Honda-powered drivers cover over 800 km in European Free Practice

The Honda-powered drivers completed a total of 159 laps and covered approximately 817 km in today's free practice session, providing the Honda engineers with a great deal of data and the drivers with the opportunity to get used to the new circuit layout.

Oliver Panis (Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda) finished in 10th position to head the Honda quartet in today's free practice session for the European Grand Prix at the Nürburgring, which has been modified for this year, increasing the circuit length by just over half a kilkometre to 5.144 km. DHL Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato finished in 12th place, followed by Jacques Villenueve (B.A.R Honda) in 15th position. Giancarlo Fisichella (Jordan Honda) recorded the 17th best time overall.

B.A.R Honda's Olivier Panis and Jacques Villeneuve completed 93 laps between them, 54 of which were run by Panis who finished in the top ten at the end of the second session. The Frenchman set a best lap and 11th quickest time of the morning of 1m36.045s. In the afternoon Panis improved on his initial time by just over two seconds, moving up to 10th position overall and setting a best lap of 1m33.921s.

Takuma Sato (Jordan Honda) completed 12 laps in the morning and set a best time of 1m36.072s. Sato had to pull over towards the end of the session as his car suffered from an electronics problem but the Japanese driver went on to cover a further 20 laps in the second session, the track temperature having risen from a low of 18 to just over 24 degrees celcius. Sato finished in 12th position overall with a time of 1m34.136s, improving on his initial time by just under two seconds

B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve finished in 17th place in the morning but improved on his initial time by two and a half seconds in the afternoon, setting the 15th best time overall of 1m34.522s. On his way to setting the eighth fastest time of the morning Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella completed 15 laps, going on to run a further 19 laps in the afternoon and finish in 17th position overall of 1m34.755s, improving on his original best lap by just over a second.

In mild weather conditions (19 degrees) at the Nürburgring, McLaren's David Coulthard set the pace, followed by Ferrari's Michael Schumacher and McLaren team-mate Kimi Raikkonen. Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) and Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) set the fourth and fifth fastest positions while the second Williams of Ralf Schumacher completes the top six positions.

Shuhei Nakamoto Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development

"I'm quite happy with the results from today's free practice session not only because we didn't have any problems but also because between them the Honda-powered drivers put over 800 km on the engine. This in turn means that we have a lot of data to work on overnight so that we can get the most out of the engine for qualifying and for the race, which is particularly important here due to the new circuit layout."

Olivier Panis Position: 10th

"The team did a very good day's work today so I'm quite pleased. I was able to put in a lot of laps again and we changed the car slightly after each run and managed to keep improving throughout both sessions. 10th isn't too bad for a Friday and we've ended the day in a good position to prepare for qualifying. The track was very dusty today but it will obviously improve tomorrow and I'm sure we'll be able to get more from the tyres."

"We have the new engine today but we should have more power when we use it for qualifying tomorrow. I think it will be an interesting race on Sunday because of the changes to the first section. I don't really understand why they've changed it like this but, anyway, we have to work with it and see how things go."

Takuma Sato Position: 12th

"We were in good shape early on but near the end of the session I lost all power and had to stop on the track, probably at the furthest point from the pit lane. The last ten minutes of the first session were lost while I got back to the garage and also I lost the first ten minutes of the second session while the team finished the repairs."

"We have been improving the set-up step by step and there is still work for tomorrow. But I found the circuit okay and the car feels alright, so I'm generally happy. It is very interesting to drive in Formula One at Nürburgring, as last time I was here was in Formula Opel in 1998. The changes to the first part of the circuit are excellent, as I think there are more opportunities for overtaking, which is quite exciting."

Jacques Villeneuve Position: 15th

"We spent a lot of time working with the tyres today and we didn't get to spend enough time on set-up. I wasn't that happy with the way the car felt this morning. We worked on the car quite a bit in between and improved it a little. It was better towards the end of the second session but we're still not quick enough yet. We still have a lot of work to do before qualifying tomorrow."

"It's hard to say where we are at the moment but I guess we're expecting a similar qualifying performance to Montreal. Then we just have to make the most of whatever opportunities the race presents. The first corner is going to determine a lot I think. It's bumpy, it doesn't have very good rhythm and it's going to be very hectic with 22 cars going into it and braking late."

Giancarlo Fisichella Position: 17th

"Not a bad day, considering I was running with lots of fuel and didn't do a single lap on low fuel. We had no problems at all with the car, which is very important. There is still work to do in finding the best set-up, as at the moment we have a lot of understeer in slow corners and graining with new tyres. It will be difficult to be in the top ten but that is our target. I don't like the changes to the circuit as it makes everything too slow."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams , Jordan