The Honda Racing F1 Team moved to Valencia this week for the second test with the new RA106 cars. The main focus of the test programme was putting more mileage on the two new chassis, together with tyre and engine development work. The team also...
The Honda Racing F1 Team moved to Valencia this week for the second test with the new RA106 cars. The main focus of the test programme was putting more mileage on the two new chassis, together with tyre and engine development work. The team also continued its preparations for the new season with qualifying and race simulations.
Despite the poor winter weather conditions, the test was a positive one with the new car showing good reliability and pace and with drivers Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button and Anthony Davidson regularly occupying the top of the timesheets.
Rubens and Anthony began the testing programme on Tuesday using extreme wet tyres following overnight rain at the Valencia circuit. Both drivers completed set-up runs and practice qualifying procedures to adapt to the new 2006 qualifying format.
The set-up work was continued in the afternoon session on wet tyres as the track began to dry out. Both Rubens and Anthony completed 62 laps in total, with Rubens setting the fastest time and Anthony the second fastest time of the day.
Jenson joined the team on Wednesday taking over from Anthony. He began the day with an aero evaluation on wet tyres whilst Rubens ran through further set-up solutions.
With the circuit drying out by lunchtime, both drivers continued the testing programme with a race simulation exercise, in combination with a dry tyre programme. Rubens completed 117 laps with Jenson totalling 86 laps and setting the second fastest time of the day.
Anthony rejoined the test programme on Friday alongside Jenson. With dry morning track conditions for the first time this week, both drivers worked through long run dry tyre evaluations followed by a race simulation in the afternoon session.
Jenson suffered an engine failure in chassis 02 early in the afternoon session but was able to return to the track to complete his programme. Anthony completed an impressive 126 laps in total today, with Jenson completing 85 laps and once again ending the day second fastest.
"On my first day of running, we completed quite a lot of laps in the car despite the wet conditions. On the second day, I focused mainly on tyre testing over long runs. This is a really good way to familiarise yourself with the car so I am becoming more and more comfortable. It was very pleasing to see that the new car has once again been very competitive."
"Overall, the test has been really positive this week so it is unfortunate that we suffered an engine failure on the final day. We've been working mainly on long run performance and the consistency has been good. As with all new cars we are just trying to get as much mileage as possible under our belts at the moment but I'm pleased with how the car is shaping up."
"We've had a pretty good day and it was great to drive the car in the dry finally. The conditions were good today and we achieved a lot of laps as my car was reliable all day. As with the other drivers, we mainly went through tyre testing for long runs and also pit stop practices which was fun because I don't get to do that very often. So all in all it's been another good week and I'm looking forward to continuing to develop the set-up of the car."
Mark Ellis, Chief Engineer Vehicle Performance:
"It has been another very good test for us this week with the new Honda Racing F1 Team RA106 cars. We have again had to contend with poor weather and track conditions however the cars have proven to be fast and consistent in all conditions. Despite a couple of small issues, we are happy with the reliability of the new car. We look forward to continuing our development programme in Jerez next week."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"We have gained a little more top power and an improved torque curve after this test. Our target is 100% reliability so we still have work to do in the coming weeks, but overall we have made good progress."