FREE PRACTICE It was a busy first day of running for the Honda Racing F1 Team in Budapest today with the focus on establishing a set-up for the team's latest car developments to suit the demands of the Hungaroring circuit. As is often the case...
It was a busy first day of running for the Honda Racing F1 Team in Budapest today with the focus on establishing a set-up for the team's latest car developments to suit the demands of the Hungaroring circuit.
As is often the case on the opening day of running here, track conditions were poor when practice got underway this morning due to dust and dirt on the racing line. However, grip levels improved significantly after some rubber had been laid down which enabled Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello to really get their set-up and tyre comparison work underway.
The track continued to improve throughout the course of the day and the team made good progress with its planned programme, however there is still further work to be done to achieve a good balance and to enable the team to improve through the field. Jenson and Rubens ended the day in 16th and 19th positions respectively.
Weather: Hot and sunny
Q. How was your first day of running at the Hungaroring today?
A. "Overall we had a good day today which enabled us to further understand the new rear suspension that we will be racing for the first time this weekend. We made some positive changes after the morning session to improve the car as I was not happy with the balance when we had very low grip at both ends. The changes ensured that the car was a lot more responsive this afternoon and an improvement over how it has felt for much of this season. Our long run pace is looking okay but we have further work to do over one lap as the balance is not quite there yet."
Q. After the opening day of practice what further work needs to be achieved to improve the car?
A. "It has been a challenging day today, which we expected as we continue the set-up work with our revised rear suspension and new aero parts. Once the track had improved this morning, we worked on getting the right balance on the car and conditioning the tyres. Unfortunately we struggled with understeer and we need to look at the data closely this evening to confirm our direction before qualifying as the lack of overtaking opportunities here makes it important to get a good grid slot."
Head of Race & Test Engineering
Q. What challenges are the characteristics of the Hungaroring likely to pose this weekend?
A. "This is always a demanding circuit for the brakes and engine due to the high ambient temperatures and low average speed. We also need to be mindful of the fact that we are expecting an equally hot weekend in Valencia in three weeks time, therefore engine management will be particularly important here. The nature of this circuit calls for the Bridgestone soft and super soft tyre compounds with which we will need to maintain a balance to prevent graining and overheating. Beyond that the heat will make this a tough race for the drivers, however ours are well prepared for these conditions."
Q. You have introduced some new developments here this weekend. Tell us about those and how they are working.
A. "We have introduced some significant mechanical developments to the car this weekend as well as the final stage of our mid-season aerodynamic upgrade. Whilst we have a tangible improvement in terms of stability and improved grip in the high-speed corners, the developments have produced some significantly different characteristics and we are still developing the set-up of the car around these. We have some way to go to achieve the optimum balance and this is reflected in the timesheets today."