Following an encouraging - if ultimately unfulfilled - season opener in Australia, Honda and its partner team Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda arrives in Malaysia for the second round of the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship. The B*A*R Honda 005...
Following an encouraging - if ultimately unfulfilled - season opener in Australia, Honda and its partner team Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda arrives in Malaysia for the second round of the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship. The B*A*R Honda 005 made an instant impression at Melbourne with Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button wasting no time in underlining the potential of the new package. On Friday in Australia both drivers set top five lap times during the first qualifying session - the only real test of ultimate one-lap performance within the revised Grand Prix schedule, as cars now run with considerable fuel loads during the second of the new single lap qualifying sessions.
Although many of the race team members have remained in the Far East since the dust settled in Albert Park, B*A*R Honda has been busy back in Europe. Reserve driver Takuma Sato evaluated further technical developments during a three-day test at Jerez in Southern Spain, including some tyre evaluation work.
While Sato has been concentrating on chassis improvements, Honda's technicians have been preparing for the unique climatic combination of searing heat and high humidity that will prove the biggest challenge to men and machinery in equatorial Malaysia. With B*A*R Honda's testing programme so far having been conducted in wintry Europe, preparations for such challenging conditions might seem impossible.
However, on Honda R&D's dynamometers in Japan, Honda's engineers can not only replicate the extreme levels of heat expected in Kuala Lumpur but also adapt the RA003E's software programmes and mapping to adjust the engine's performance to the particular characteristics of the Sepang circuit - a track that features some notably long straights plus several tight hairpin corners.
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"We were encouraged by our speed over the weekend in Australia, and are aiming to turn that in to points this time. We have solved the parts problem that we experienced on Friday in Melbourne and will be running the more powerful specification engine. It's always hard work in the heat of Kuala Lumpur, but we are heading there with high hopes."