San Marino Grand Prix, 12 - 14 April 2002 After a demanding three races in Australia, Malaysia and Brazil, Honda embarks on the European tour of the Formula One season at the San Marino Grand Prix, Imola, on 14 April, with its two partner teams,...
San Marino Grand Prix, 12 - 14 April 2002
After a demanding three races in Australia, Malaysia and Brazil, Honda embarks on the European tour of the Formula One season at the San Marino Grand Prix, Imola, on 14 April, with its two partner teams, Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda and DHL Jordan Honda. Honda will introduce the first evolution of its new RA002E powerplant at the San Marino Grand Prix this weekend. The all-new V10 has been running at reduced revs in an effort to focus on reliability over the first three races. Imola sees the introduction of an increase in revs and other modifications which will reduce internal friction.
Both Honda partner teams will arrive in Imola on the back of a three-day test in Valencia, where they were able to test the latest specification, Imola version RA002E. Takuma Sato and Giancarlo Fisichella piloted the Jordan Honda while race driver Olivier Panis and test driver Anthony Davidson were on duty for B.A.R Honda. The first day (Tuesday) of testing at Valencia saw heavy rain and as a result the fastest time of 1m33.030s was over 20 seconds off the lap record. The majority of drivers went off the circuit more than once, the recovery of the cars leading to a lack of track time for everyone. Sato completed 28 laps and set the second fastest time of the day of 1m33.586s while Davidson recorded a 1m38.564s and completed 23 laps.
Panis and Fisichella joined the test on Wednesday and as the weather improved the times tumbled. Panis set the third fastest time of the day of 1m14.559s and completed 78 laps and was encouraged by the latest specification engine while Sato completed 43 laps and recorded a best lap of 1m15.041s, the eighth fastest time of the day. On the final day (Thursday) of the test Fisichella completed 31 laps and set the fifth fastest time of the day of 1m13.462s, closely followed by Panis, who completed 55 laps and recorded a best lap of 1m13.469s. Davidson recorded a fastest lap of 1m14.155s and completed 18 laps.
Part of the Honda Motor Europe South division, Honda Italy is a key market within the Europe, Middle East and Africa region. Honda increased its presence in Italy in 1976 when it started motorcycle production in the country, a product area that remains extremely important today. This relationship was bolstered by the Italian motorcycle hero, Valentino Rossi, winning the World Grand Prix motorcycle championship last year aboard his Honda, taking Honda's tally of WGP wins over the 500 mark in the process. In addition to its motorcycle manufacturing facility, Honda has also established a research and development centre, in common with several other of its European operations.
Shuhei Nakamoto, Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development commented:
"Although we've had a tough start to the season we're determined to keep fighting. We're introducing a new evolution of the engine for Imola, which, although it isn't a huge step, is a definite step in the right direction. Our aim is to produce the best engine in Formula One and ultimately win the world championship and I am confident that we are taking the first steps to achieve our goal."