The Honda Racing F1 Team completed a four-day test at the Monza circuit in northern Italy today in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix at the historic racing venue next weekend. This week's programme concentrated on establishing a good set-up...
The Honda Racing F1 Team completed a four-day test at the Monza circuit in northern Italy today in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix at the historic racing venue next weekend. This week's programme concentrated on establishing a good set-up for the RA107 car around the unique high-speed and low-downforce track, through the evaluation of various aerodynamic, tyre and chassis set-up options.
Rubens Barrichello began the test programme on Tuesday focusing on the set-up of the car, alongside working through aerodynamic and suspension evaluations. Rubens' running was briefly interrupted by a late afternoon rain shower, although he was able to complete a good number of laps over the day, 85 in total.
Christian Klien took over the driving responsibilities on Wednesday. He began the day with a series of set-up runs, before continuing the aero and suspension work from the previous day. Christian spent the afternoon concentrating on a tyre evaluation with the two Bridgestone compounds over longer runs, completing 92 laps.
Jenson Button joined the team in Monza on Thursday. Unfortunately the weather conditions had deteriorated overnight with heavy thunderstorms hitting the region. The levels of standing water on the track limited Jenson to one early installation lap before he returned to the garage. The circuit re-opened in the early afternoon enabling Jenson to go out on the wet tyres and complete some initial set-up work before running through a dry tyre evaluation as soon as the conditions allowed. Jenson covered 60 laps in total.
Due to the conditions on Wednesday, the team decided to take up the option of remaining in Monza for a further day of testing on Thursday. The weather continued to be unfavourable in the morning with Jenson completing only two runs in wet conditions. The afternoon proved more settled and enabled the team to continue the planned programme with Jenson working on general car set-up, alongside further work on the aero and suspension required for next weekend's race, covering 61 laps.
"I had a good day in the car on Tuesday and in fact it was better than I expected. I was not hoping for too much from the car coming here but at the end of the day, I felt happy as the car seems to be reacting well to the track despite the aero issues that we have at the moment. We focused mainly on the set-up for the race and set some reasonable times which is encouraging. Combined with the car feeling better, I am reasonably happy and looking forward to racing at one of my favourite circuits next weekend."
"We were very pleased to get through our planned programme on Wednesday covering 92 laps. I evaluated new suspension parts which made the behaviour of the car better so that was positive. We spent the afternoon session on tyre evaluation of the hard and soft Bridgestone compounds for the race next weekend. They have changed the second chicane here to improve the run-off areas which is a good improvement as it feels safer for the drivers."
"The testing that we were able to achieve this week was positive and we made the most of the available track time, despite the really poor weather conditions. The main focus was preparing the set-up of the car ahead of the race. We ran the Monza aero package with new front and rear wings which worked pretty much as expected, along with revised suspension components required for the unique demands of this circuit."
"I also did a few laps without traction control ahead of the new regulations for next year. It was good fun to feel that you are properly in control of the car again and I'm looking forward to next year when we race without it."
Jacky Eeckelaert - Engineering Director:
"The test programme in Monza this week focused on preparation for the Italian Grand Prix here next weekend. The Monza track sees the highest top speeds of the season and therefore we ran a new front and rear wing specifically designed for the low drag configuration required. The drivers also worked on the set-up of the car and finding a good balance on the low downforce levels with the prime and the option tyre compounds provided for this event by Bridgestone."
"In addition to the aero, we had further new developments to evaluate including modifications to the front and rear suspension to improve the braking stability which is one of the prime factors for getting a good lap here. The drivers found a positive effect from these developments so they will be raced next weekend."