Following an eventful and incident-filled season opener in Australia, Honda and its partner teams, DHL Jordan Honda and Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda, arrive in Malaysia for the second round of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship. The ...
Following an eventful and incident-filled season opener in Australia, Honda and its partner teams, DHL Jordan Honda and Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda, arrive in Malaysia for the second round of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship. The disappointments of Melbourne endorsed the importance of overall reliability and for Honda and its partner teams, both capable of scoring points in Australia, Malaysia represents an opportunity to improve.
As always, the notorious heat and humidity of Kuala Lumpur's equatorial climate will be a significant factor over the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend. Combined with the characteristics of the Sepang circuit, which include two long straights, the climatic conditions require the Honda's engineers to focus on the software programmes and mapping of the RA002E to adapt.
Much of the preparation is carried out in Honda R&D's ambient dynamometers which simulate various meteorological conditions although, until this year, the annual visit to Kyalami in South Africa provided an invaluable opportunity for hot-weather testing 'on the ground'. Honda arrives in Malaysia fresh from two constructive days of testing at Silverstone on 6 and 7 March, at which B.A.R Honda test driver Anthony Davidson carried out extensive aerodynamic work, mainly as single-lap runs, with large amounts of data being collected not only on the chassis but also from the powerplant, as part of Honda's current software programme.
Malaysia forms an important element of Honda's global network as part of its Asia/Oceania region. Malaysia was chosen by Honda as the base for its first automobile production facility in the region, which opened in 1969. The company has now expanded its operations to include production in eight Asian countries; Thailand, Taiwan, Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, Pakistan, China and India; across all three of its divisions: automobiles, motorcycles and power equipment products. Honda's growth in Malaysia continued last August when construction of a new car plant in the Malacca region began, scheduled for completion in January 2003. The facility's initial production capacity of 20,000 units per year is designed to meet local demand, manufacturing the Honda City, Civic, Accord and CR-V models.
Shuhei Nakamoto, Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development commented:" We experienced various incidents leading up to the Melbourne race, but all four Honda-powered drivers felt that their cars were set-up well and were prepared for good race day performance, so the final result was very frustrating. We are now facing a slightly different challenge as we prepare for the Malaysian Grand Prix due to the combination of heat and humidity which is unique to Kuala Lumpur.