The Honda Racing F1 Team moved to Bahrain this week for the first Formula One testing session to be held at the Sakhir circuit. The team took the opportunity to test on the track which will host the opening race of the 2006 F1 season in just over...
The Honda Racing F1 Team moved to Bahrain this week for the first Formula One testing session to be held at the Sakhir circuit. The team took the opportunity to test on the track which will host the opening race of the 2006 F1 season in just over three weeks time.
Four consecutive days of testing on the technically demanding 5.417km circuit and in the warm climate of Bahrain has proved invaluable preparation for the new season with the team's four drivers completing 854 laps and covering 4638kms in total.
Anthony Davidson and Young Driver James Rossiter began the test on Monday as the brand new chassis RA106-03 was given its first outing. Anthony had a productive day working on the set-up of his car, alongside tyre and aero evaluations, completing 114 laps and setting the fastest time of the 2006 cars.
James also focused on set-up work in the new chassis, alongside a short aero evaluation in the afternoon session. James completed 68 laps over the day, adapting very impressively to the new RA106 and quickly setting competitive lap times.
Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello joined the team on Tuesday. Both drivers spent their early laps completing familiarisation and set-up runs in their respective cars before working on tyre and aero evaluation programmes in the afternoon. Jenson completed 88 laps, with Rubens totalling 105 laps, as the two race drivers set almost identical times to finish fastest of the 2006 cars.
The race drivers continued the test programme on Wednesday concentrating on tyre and aerodynamic evaluations, followed by a race simulation exercise in the afternoon session. Jenson completed a very impressive 140 laps, setting the second fastest time overall, with Rubens completing 104 laps.
Both Jenson and Rubens had a particularly productive final day on Thursday. Jenson spent the day focusing on a tyre evaluation programme, with live pitstops in the afternoon session, followed by a chassis set-up evaluation to conclude the day's running.
Jenson completed 133 laps and set the fastest time of the V8 runners for the third day in succession. Rubens completed a second successful race simulation, along with a suspension and aero programme. He completed 101 laps in total.
"Testing in Bahrain has been very useful this week and I'm really pleased that we decided to come here. We did a lot of work on the tyres and the engine and covered many laps. We have had a few minor issues which was good because we could learn what the problems are and then fix them before the race."
"The tyres are competitive and once again I spent my time concentrating on race distance runs. I am definitely happy with the results this week and am looking forward to coming back in three weeks time."
"The test has gone very well over the last few days. We have completed a lot of laps, mostly focusing on tyre testing, but also doing reliability work and finding a good set-up around the Bahrain circuit before the first race. It's been nice to test in the hot conditions for a change which helps to prepare you physically. The car has been reliable and we've made a lot of progress with Michelin so overall a very positive week."
"We had a good first day on Monday with the car proving very reliable enabling us to complete 114 laps. The circuit was in reasonably good condition for the first day of running so we were able to get some useful aero and tyre evaluations completed. The car was generally fast and on the pace which is good."
"I had only done 50 laps at the Bahrain circuit before this week on the Friday running of the 2004 season and turn 3 had changed slightly since I was last here. It was a refreshing change to be somewhere outside of Spain for testing and with the good weather, these were perfect conditions for testing."
"It was a great experience to drive the RA106 for the first time this week and my first impressions of the car were really good. I spent the day adapting to the car and running through some set-up work in the morning and an aero evaluation in the afternoon. I raced here in F3 at the end of 2004 but it was great to be able to drive an F1 car here."
Mark Ellis, Chief Engineer Vehicle Performance:
"It was good to be in Bahrain for our first test at this circuit, not only because it is the venue for the first Grand Prix of the year, but also because the circuit layout is technically very good to test the car and of course the weather is much warmer than in Europe! We have learnt a great deal about the car and the tyres this week to be really prepared for the first race of 2006."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"The Bahrain circuit is quite hard on the engine and we have had a couple of problems as we seek to run the engines for longer at higher revs. On the other hand, two engines have run over 1000kms without any problems, so we are heading in the right direction. We have more improvements to come for next week in Barcelona."