2004 IRL Indy Car champion Tony Kanaan joined the B*A*R Honda team at the Circuito de Jerez in Southern Spain on Thursday. It was the Brazilian's first opportunity to drive a Formula One car and the invitation was extended to him in recognition of...
2004 IRL Indy Car champion Tony Kanaan joined the B*A*R Honda team at the Circuito de Jerez in Southern Spain on Thursday. It was the Brazilian's first opportunity to drive a Formula One car and the invitation was extended to him in recognition of his achievements in the IRL series last year.
On a very hot day in Jerez with ambient temperatures reaching 30°C, Tony began running shortly after 9am in chassis 007-01, which is the team's 2006 development car. He completed 18 laps in the morning session familiarising himself with the car and the circuit. Unfortunately an electrical problem cost him some running time early in the session.
Tony got back on track at the start of the afternoon session and despite a couple of spins, he continued to improve his lap times, completing a total of 51 laps. A gearbox problem towards the end of the afternoon ended his running slightly early.
The team website caught up with Tony after the test - here are his reflections on what he describes as 'a dream come true'..
Q: How did it go?
Tony Kanaan: "It was a good day. I had no major expectations before I came here and just wanted to enjoy the experience and try to help the team if I could. It was a short day for us, a long one in terms of time, but short runs. We had a couple of things we had to address in the car which took a long time. But overall I completed 51 laps and it felt really good."
Q: You had a few interruptions then?
TK: "I tried to keep calm. I wanted to run obviously but race cars are like that, especially when you are testing, sometimes they have problems and sometimes they break so you've just got to fix it. So no, it wasn't frustrating, I just tried to calm myself and not be too anxious when it came to driving again. I've been racing for many years and I know what happens, sometimes you have problems like that."
Q: How did you find the circuit?
TK: "It was fun and very challenging, a fast track with very hard braking corners. It's also very abrasive so you lose the grip on the tyres after a couple of laps. I had already practised driving the circuit on a computer game but it was more fun to do it live. It's a driver's circuit for sure."
Q: Did you find it tough physically?
TK: "I knew a couple of months ago about the test so I've been preparing myself for a long time. It was different to what I am used to. The G loads are higher than in Indy Car but the steering is a lot lighter which makes my life easier. On the neck I couldn't feel a lot, probably because I prepared myself pretty good to come here. I didn't do a long run so I imagine it does get tougher! It's as physical as Indy Cars but in a different way."
Q: How did the B*A*R Honda 007 handle?
TK: "The car was good. We made some changes and if we'd had more time, I would have changed a couple more things to suit my driving style. We got a good starting set-up from work that Anthony had done on the car previously so that made things a lot easier."
Q: Was there anything that surprised you about the car?
TK: "How good the brakes are. I know everybody says the same thing and obviously I got told that I was going to be impressed, but I was very impressed with the brakes."
Q: Your final thoughts on the experience?
TK: "Overall it was a very fun day and I've got to thank B.A.R Honda for the opportunity and particularly Wada-san, Gil and Robert Clark back in America for making it happen. And a big thanks also to the guys who ran my car today for all their support. It really has been a dream come true for me."