Following two weeks of intensive activity on the race track in Germany and Spain, the Honda Racing F1 Team returned to testing duties this week with a three-day test at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy. The main focus of the test was development,...
Following two weeks of intensive activity on the race track in Germany and Spain, the Honda Racing F1 Team returned to testing duties this week with a three-day test at the Vallelunga circuit in Italy. The main focus of the test was development, set-up and tyre work for next week's Monaco Grand Prix, plus tyre programmes for other forthcoming races.
Perfect sunny and warm weather, along with good reliability from the RA106 race cars, enabled the team to successfully complete its full test programme. The short and tight track configuration of the Vallelunga circuit also enabled race drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, along with third driver Anthony Davidson, to prepare themselves for the unique challenge of the Monaco street race.
Anthony and James began the test on Tuesday with both drivers working through aero programmes and tyre evaluations for the Monaco Grand Prix. Anthony completed 127 laps, with James totalling 76 laps, despite a couple of mechanical problems which interrupted his afternoon's running.
Jenson joined the team on Wednesday, taking over from James. After acclimatising himself to the track layout, he spent the day working through a tyre programme, covering an impressive 176 laps. Anthony concentrated on aero, tyre and chassis set-up work, completing 146 laps.
Jenson continued his preparation for Monaco on Thursday, running through a chassis set-up programme, before switching to a lower downforce set-up to work on tyres for the Canadian Grand Prix, completing 147 laps. Rubens joined the test for the final day, also concentrating on chassis work alongside an aero and tyre programme for Monaco, completing a total of 112 laps.
"The test was good this week with a lot of mileage completed. We ran through all the tyre programmes with Michelin to choose the tyres for Monaco and also the Canadian Grand Prix. Vallelunga is a very bumpy circuit and more abrasive than Monaco, however we were able to get a good idea of which tyres will work. Overall it's been a positive week and I'm really looking forward to Monaco next weekend."
"Today was quite straightforward for us. We made a lot of changes to the car over the day, trying different things on the set-up. The main focus was chassis work but I also did some work on the tyres for Monaco and the results are looking positive. I'm looking forward to Monaco next weekend, it's a home race for me, and I think the car has the potential to qualify well which is crucial for the race."
"It was a good two days in the car for me this week and we had a successful test looking at the aero and tyres for Monaco. We also worked on the general set-up of the car and found some interesting results for the future. The car felt good around the tight and twisty configuration that we ran here in Vallelunga so that should get me in the groove for my Friday running next week. So all in all, it's been a good test."
"It was good to get more time in the car on Tuesday, despite a few mechanical issues. We mainly ran through aero work and looked at different settings to see some good results by the end of the day."
Mark Ellis - Chief Engineer Vehicle Performance:
"We have had a very positive three days here in Vallelunga. The weather and track conditions have been perfect and we have completed our planned programme of developments and tyre programmes in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix. The drivers have tried some new directions on set-up and are pleased with the results. We are looking forward to a competitive race in Monaco next weekend."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Management Board Member - Honda Racing F1 Team, Engineering Director - Honda Racing Development:
"It has been a productive test for the next step engine, focusing mainly on finding the best settings for Monaco, where the engine acceleration curve is quicker than at other circuits."