The launch of the Honda Racing F1 Team's 2006 car -- the RA106 -- took place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona this morning. The team delivered two new RA106 chassis enabling Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button to begin the testing...
The launch of the Honda Racing F1 Team's 2006 car -- the RA106 -- took place at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona this morning. The team delivered two new RA106 chassis enabling Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button to begin the testing programme for the new car together.
Following a reveal of the cars and photocall for the attending photographers and media, the two cars were fired up and driven out of the garage simultaneously by Rubens and Jenson.
The track temperatures were very cold in the early part of the morning which meant that the drivers completed only installation laps before returning to the garage to wait for the conditions to improve.
Once they were out on track again at midday, Rubens completed a series of acclimatisation runs in chassis 01 to get a basic feel for the new car and its characteristics. He continued to work on the general set-up of the car throughout the day completing a total of 52 laps.
In the second chassis, Jenson also completed two runs getting used to the car. Once happy with the balance he ran through a tyre evaluation during the afternoon session. Jenson completed 70 laps today setting the third fastest time -- a 01:16.453.
Rubens and Jenson will continue the RA106 testing programme in their respective chassis tomorrow.
Geoffrey Willis, technical director:
"It's been a very encouraging start. We began the day with two RA106s pulling out of the garage, which is an incredible achievement for us. The cars performed well; it was pretty cold in the morning which limited our running however we did a good number of laps throughout the day with no problems and some competitive times. We've got plenty of work to do over the next few weeks but it's been a positive first day."
"To see two new cars on the track at the same time is an amazing achievement and Jenson and I were able to do similar times, which is really pleasing. The engineers have been telling us this is a better car on paper but it's always good to confirm their readings from the driving seat."
"It's been a good first day with the RA106. I'm happy with the way the car feels and it's definitely a step forward from last year, we just don't know how much yet. I'm now looking forward to tomorrow when we can get started on some proper testing."