B*A*R Honda made a promising start to its second home Grand Prix of the season today, where the team prepares to celebrate 100 races in partnership with Honda. The team's army of Japanese fans were already trackside providing enthusiastic...
B*A*R Honda made a promising start to its second home Grand Prix of the season today, where the team prepares to celebrate 100 races in partnership with Honda.
The team's army of Japanese fans were already trackside providing enthusiastic support on the first day of running to see Japanese star Takuma Sato and team-mate Jenson Button secure top-8 places in the first of the free practice sessions.
This morning Jenson ended the first session as the fastest of the race drivers behind two of the Friday runners. Taku was the 8th fastest man on the track and both drivers enjoyed a productive morning working through their planned programmes and achieving plenty of running with no problems.
This afternoon, the overcast skies and a shower late in the session gave an indication of the weather conditions expected in Suzuka over the rest of the weekend.
Both drivers focused on fine-tuning the set-up of the B*A*R Honda 007 to the demands of this unique 18-turn figure-of-eight circuit and a programme of tyre comparisons between the Michelin options available here. Jenson was the 9th fastest runner of the afternoon with Takuma in 13th.
"We completed our usual Friday run plan but we structured the two sessions slightly differently because we knew that the rain would hit in the afternoon and compromise our second session progress. So we did a lot of laps in the morning to get ahead of ourselves, which worked out well."
"A quick downpour at the end of the session gave us an early opportunity to try the wet tyres, which is just as well because I think we'll be needing those tomorrow! It's been a good first day and the support from our fans here is fantastic as ever."
"I hope we can continue to get stronger during the rest of the weekend and deliver a great result in front of our home crowd. We certainly have a lot of data to work through as a result of some good running time today."
"We've had mixed weather today but we forecast that well and did a lot of work on the morning session in preparation for the rain. Today we focused more on long runs and tyre comparisons, and of course the rain gave us the opportunity to try out the wet tyre."
"It looks like it will be a wet practice tomorrow so the work we did today was very important for that. We have obtained lots of good data so we have plenty of work ahead of us but it's looking promising. It was fantastic to see so many fans on the first day of running and to feel such a great atmosphere."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting director:
"You probably heard it seventeen times before but I will say it again! Quite a normal day by which I mean that we ended up doing nearly all the dry running we were hoping to do and also managed to do a few laps in the wet."
"Both drivers are reasonably happy with the car and I expect a long night of analysing all the data we collected prior to making our tyre choice tomorrow at 08:00am."
"As usual it is very difficult to determine exactly how fast we are in relation to the competition, however with a little improvement we will hopefully be fighting at the sharp end of qualifying tomorrow regardless of the weather conditions."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering director, Honda Racing Development:
"It's great to be back at Suzuka again. The Suzuka engine spec is working well and both of the drivers got through most of their targeted programme. The rain is the only disappointing factor but it's better than last year's typhoon!"
Chassis: BAR Honda 007-04
Free Practice 1: 3rd
Fastest lap time: 1:32.043
Free Practice 2: 9th
Fastest lap time: 1:33.453
Chassis: BAR Honda 007-05
Free Practice 1: 8th
Fastest lap time: 1:32.791
Free Practice 2: 13th
Fastest lap time: 1:34.330