The Honda Racing F1 Team returned to the test track this week following an intensive fortnight of racing action in Canada and North America. With three European races to come over the next month in France, Germany and Hungary, the team spent three...
The Honda Racing F1 Team returned to the test track this week following an intensive fortnight of racing action in Canada and North America. With three European races to come over the next month in France, Germany and Hungary, the team spent three days at the Circuito de Jerez in southern Spain focusing on aerodynamic developments to the RA106 race car, intensive tyre evaluations with Michelin and running the latest specification engine. All four of the team's drivers took part in the test, covering a total of 2171kms and 489 laps over the three days.
Anthony Davidson and James Rossiter began the running on Tuesday with both of their RA106 race cars fitted with an aerodynamic upgrade package for the French Grand Prix. Alongside the aero evaluations, the test schedule concentrated on tyre programmes to assess the various options for the race at Magny Cours next weekend. Mechanical problems for both cars in the morning interrupted running for a short time but were quickly resolved with Anthony going on to complete 70 laps, setting the third fastest time of the day, and James completing 74 laps.
Rubens Barrichello joined the team on Wednesday, beginning his programme with some early set-up runs before working through an aerodynamic evaluation followed by a chassis set-up programme. Rubens completed 47 laps over the day, with a spin at turn ten resulting in minor damage to the rear of the car costing some track time in the early afternoon, and a subsequent engine failure ending his running earlier than planned. Anthony had a more productive day working through a comprehensive chassis set-up programme, alongside a tyre evaluation looking at options for the German Grand Prix, completing a total of 110 laps.
Jenson Button took over from Anthony on Thursday for the final day of the test. He focused on tyre programmes evaluating various rear tyre options before moving onto a chassis set-up programme. An early afternoon engine failure cost Jenson some running time in the afternoon session, although he was able to complete 94 laps and set the second fastest time of the day. Rubens concentrated on further evaluation work on the aerodynamic upgrade package, followed by a tyre compound programme for the French Grand Prix, also completing 94 laps.
"A pretty straightforward test day for us today, although we did suffer an engine failure this afternoon which was disappointing. We had some new items to test this week and were able to get some encouraging results, although our pace is still not quick enough to compete with the top teams. We have some work to do before next weekend but today's running has provided us with a lot of data to study."
"We were able to gather some data on my first day but unfortunately my running time was cut short. Then today we concentrated on the new aero parts that we had this week, and although the times were not so competitive, we have found some valuable answers. In the other car, Jenson was on a different programme and doing much better times which is very encouraging. So altogether I think we did a good job over the two days with a lot of information to study before the French Grand Prix next weekend."
"We covered a great deal of tyre work this week with Michelin, looking at the options for France and Germany. The hot track conditions caused a few problems with long run degradation for most teams but we found a good compromise on this and were able to get some good results. The car had a good balance and was generally handling well. We also made some steps forward on the set-up and seem to be on a competitive pace which is encouraging. We did have some reliability issues but the engine on my car ran for both days with no concerns and we completed a good number of laps."
"Unfortunately our proposed run plan on Tuesday was compromised by a couple of mechanical problems but we completed an aero evaluation for France which was encouraging. We also worked on a tyre test in the afternoon seeing some good results."
Mark Ellis - Chief Engineer Vehicle Performance:
"This has been a very busy week for us, with many new chassis and aerodynamic developments to be tested. Unusually, we have had some mechanical problems with the car which disrupted the programme, however we are pleased with our general pace and consistency and aim to carry this through to the next race in Magny Cours."