French GP: Honda race report

The Honda Racing F1 Team's Rubens Barrichello made the best of a frustrating French Grand Prix weekend today when he brought his RA108 home in 14th having battled from 20th place on the grid. Rubens fought hard with the cars that he was able to ...

The Honda Racing F1 Team's Rubens Barrichello made the best of a frustrating French Grand Prix weekend today when he brought his RA108 home in 14th having battled from 20th place on the grid. Rubens fought hard with the cars that he was able to compete with and the six positions that he gained saw the biggest improvement by any driver in the race.

His team-mate Jenson Button, on the other hand, had a short-lived race. The handling of his car was affected from the outset by a first corner collision with Sebastien Bourdais. The damage from that incident did not become fully apparent until the wing succumbed to the damage three laps later when he rode the kerb at the last chicane and it became trapped under the front of the car. Jenson pitted for a new nose but went on to experience a severe lack of grip and the car became increasingly undriveable. When he retired after 16 laps, the team were able to see that the bargeboards had been damaged when the wing went under the car.

The Honda Racing F1 Team now turns its attention to the next race on the calendar, the British Grand Prix. The team will test a new aerodynamic package on the RA108 at Silverstone next week, prior to heading to one of its two home races - just seven miles from its UK base in Brackley - on 5 July.

Weather: Overcast and breezy Temperatures: Air: 25C Track: 25-31C


Q. Sum up your French Grand Prix today.

A. "It was in many ways a great race today, just with a difficult car. At least we were able to progress up the field and make a fight of it. As we expected, the car was slightly better in race trim and with a good strategy and great pit stops, we were able to improve on my starting position and challenge the people we were able to. Our engineers and mechanics did a great job this weekend, so I would like to thank them for their hard work and motivation. However there is no escaping the fact that this has been a painful weekend for us. We have a lot of hard work ahead at the test in Silverstone next week where we aim to improve the competitiveness of the car for the next few races with some new developments."


Q. A brief and frustrating race for you. What went wrong?

A. "Going out of the race so early is a disappointing end to what has been a tough weekend for us. I got a good start and was alongside Bourdais. I thought he was going to turn in at turn one and close the door so I pulled in behind him and then unfortunately hit him in the rear as everything slowed down for the corner. I could feel that there was something broken at the front of the car as there was an air coming in from the front, but the car was driveable and I was staying with the back of the pack so I continued. However the front wing must have been loose as a result of the impact, as it dislodged itself when I went over the kerbs in the last chicane and got stuck under the front of the car. We replaced the nose but the bargeboards had been pulled off and the car had become undriveable so I had to retire. It's my home Grand Prix next and we have a busy programme at the Silverstone test next week to prepare, so we will stay positive and keep looking forward."

ROSS BRAWN, Team Principal

Q. Talk us through the challenges you faced in today's race.

A. "Rubens got a good start and then did a solid job managing the tyres with a heavy fuel load for the first stint. Unfortunately though he was trapped behind a slower car, which allowed the cars ahead to pull away. However, with a good strategy and consistent laps, Rubens was able to move through the field and, having started from the back of the grid, he went on to make up five places. While this is by no means a good result, the team and car worked very well throughout the whole race. Jenson's first corner incident with Bourdais damaged the front wing, and as a consequence it became loose and broke off. Despite a nose change, some residual bodywork damage was causing him to lose a great deal of downforce. Given that it was so early in the race it was not sensible to leave a stricken car running so we decided to retire him."

Q. What steps will you now take to try to improve the car for the next few races?

A. "Next week we are testing at Silverstone where we will be evaluating a considerable aero upgrade which we plan to introduce for the British Grand Prix in two weeks' time. There will be further developments to this over the coming races then a suspension upgrade for the start of the final long haul races."

-credit: honda

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Rubens Barrichello , Sébastien Bourdais
Teams Honda Racing F1 Team