The Honda Racing F1 Team returned to the racetrack this weekend as the Formula One calendar moved to Spain for the start of the European season. Race drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello completed 95 laps in today's two 1.5-hour practice...
The Honda Racing F1 Team returned to the racetrack this weekend as the Formula One calendar moved to Spain for the start of the European season. Race drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello completed 95 laps in today's two 1.5-hour practice sessions, continuing the work begun during last week's four-day test here where the team introduced a significant aerodynamic upgrade to the RA108.
In session one the drivers completed only limited running while they waited for the track temperatures to rise and rubber to go down. Jenson completed 16 laps in the latter stages of the session to post the 10th fastest lap, while Rubens was 18th fastest after competing 14 laps.
With improved track conditions in session two, the drivers set to work. Jenson completed 34 laps during the course of a programme of race set-up work to end the day in 15th place, while Rubens completed 31 laps to be 17th, just 0.2s behind his team-mate.
Weather Warm and sunny
Temperatures Air: 18-25C Track: 22-39C
Q. Tell us about the focus of your programme for today?
A. "Today was really important as I didn't get any testing mileage last week due to the bad weather we had here on the final day, so it was good to get some laps in with the new developments on the car. We haven't found the best set-up yet as I was struggling with the balance today, but I'm confident that we will find the improvements tomorrow."
Q. What are your expectations for the weekend ahead?
A. "After the test last week, our expectations were to be challenging for a place in the final part of qualifying and the top ten. We achieved this in Bahrain and given the improvements made to the car I hope we have taken enough of a step forward to do this again."
Q. What have been the main set-up challenges during today's running?
A. "We've had a tough day today and the main challenge has been to get the car working in the same way that it did at the test last week. The balance and feel of the car was completely different today, so we had to really work around the set-up trying to rediscover the feeling we had from the test."
Q. How can the team continue to move forward in preparation for qualifying and the race?
A. "We have a lot of work to do tonight in terms of studying the data to understand where the issues lie. I felt very confident after the test, and although there is an improvement in the car here, we still have work to do to achieve our expectations of progressing to the third session of qualifying. It's going to be difficult but not impossible."
STEVE CLARK Head of Race & Test Engineering
Q. How is the new upgrade package translating from test to racetrack?
A. "We tested the new package here last week and have incorporated elements of this into our race weekend specification. The track conditions are completely different today compared to the end of the test and our task for the remainder of the weekend is to tune the car to find a good balance for qualifying and the race. The only real indication of the step forward that we have made will be in qualifying tomorrow when we will know whether we have moved forward in relation to our competitors."
Q. What will be the main challenges for the rest of the weekend?
A. "As always, the main challenge is getting the best out of the car for qualifying and the race. We test frequently here at Barcelona, however track and weather conditions change and finding a good balance is crucial to achieving the optimum laptime. We have been making steady progress so far, but with the field being so tight this year, even getting through the first qualifying session requires maximum focus. Our target will be to get both cars into the top ten."