Following the launch of the RA106 on Wednesday, new team mates Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button were able to commence work on the Honda Racing F1 Team's pre-season testing programme with two identical new chassis at the Circuit de Catalunya in...
Following the launch of the RA106 on Wednesday, new team mates Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button were able to commence work on the Honda Racing F1 Team's pre-season testing programme with two identical new chassis at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
The test programme focused on basic car set-up, putting miles on both chassis and completing systems checks. It was a successful test despite the wintry weather conditions which limited the available running time for all teams.
The cold track temperatures on Wednesday meant the drivers completed only installation laps before returning to the garage. Once they were able to go out at midday, both drivers completed a series of acclimatisation runs to get a basic feel for the new car and its characteristics. Rubens completed 52 laps, with Jenson running for 70 laps and setting the second fastest time of the day for a 2006 specification car.
It was another cold start on Thursday as Rubens and Jenson continued their running in chassis RA106-01 and chassis RA106-02 respectively. Both drivers continued their work on general chassis set-up and development with Rubens completing 67 laps and setting the fastest time of the day for a 2006 specification car. Jenson completed 81 laps.
There was very limited running on Friday due to the cold conditions combined with intermittent sleet showers. Anthony ventured out for an installation lap but unfortunately ran off the circuit in the freezing conditions at turn 3. Rubens remained confined to the garage in the second car for the morning session. The team decided at lunchtime that there would be no further running for the day.
"It was great to get the new car out of the box this week, especially with the two new chassis ready at the same time. We have had some good running over the first two days where the car has been reliable and the set-up work has progressed nicely but there is still development work to be done as always."
"Obviously after the launch of the new car, we were all very excited about getting the two cars out on the circuit. Everything went very smoothly and we did around a lot of laps on both days so we got some good running in, mostly reliability work and just finding a reasonable set-up."
"We're not there yet but the early pace of the car is good and obviously the most important thing is to have good long-run pace and we do have that. So it's been a good two-day test for me and I can't wait to get back in the car to continue the development."
"Unfortunately I wasn't able to get any running in the new car today due to the weather conditions, which is a shame as I was looking forward to finding out what the car felt like. But I don't have to wait too long as we are back testing in Valencia next week."
Mark Ellis, Chief Test Engineer:
"This has been a very successful test for the new RA106, despite the very cold conditions we have faced this week. The performance and reliability 'out of the box' have been extremely encouraging and we have used the track time to identify areas where we can quickly further improve the overall performance."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"It was exciting to see the first F1 car run by a 100% Honda team for nearly 40 years out on the track. The engine continued to be as reliable as it had been in the Concept car, which is a good sign for the rest of the year. We have a good baseline to work from, so will continue to develop as fast as we can in the remaining tests."