B·A·R Honda Barcelona & Valencia Test Report

March 19, 2004 B·A·R Honda Concludes Testing Action In Spain

Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda returned from a successful debut race in the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix to resume testing last week in Barcelona and Valencia. Race drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato, together with third driver Anthony Davidson, put the new B·A·R Honda 006-04 and '04 Concept car chassis through their paces over the course of the four-day programme. Anthony was the first man on track for the team in Barcelona on Tuesday, where the focus was on aerodynamic evaluation and tyre compound selection for the start of the European season. Running alongside Ferrari, Renault, McLaren, Williams, Sauber, Jaguar and Toyota, he completed over 100 laps during the day and recorded the second fastest time overall - a 1m15.412s - at the same time exceeding his own personal best lap time at the Circuit de Catalunya. At the close of running, he then hot-footed it down the coast to Valencia, ready to jump into the '04 Concept car to commence a two-day wet test at the Circuit del Motor Y Promocion Deportiva. Back in Barcelona, Takuma Sato took over the reins of the B·A·R Honda 006. Clearly upbeat following his points success in the Bahrain Grand Prix, Taku went on to set the fastest time of the day on Wednesday - a 1m14.686s - completing 103 laps in the process. After a brief pitstop at B·A·R's Operations Centre in Brackley, where he thanked the factory-based team for the part they played in his recent podium successes, Jenson Button arrived in Barcelona on Wednesday evening to begin his own two-day programme. He took over the 006-04 chassis on Thursday, and it was in that same chassis that he posted the fastest time of the day on Friday. Both programmes proved successful in terms of reliability and consistency, despite wet weather compromising running at Barcelona later in the week. At the Circuit de Catalunya, the three drivers completed nearly 2000kms over the four-day programme, whilst in Valencia, Anthony achieved almost 1100kms over the two-day wet test. The test team will be back in action this week at Paul Ricard in France and Vairano in Italy. Jenson Button "The test has been a bit difficult this week due to the intermittent weather conditions. It would change from dry to wet throughout the day, so it was very difficult to do any real testing. Having said that, I was able to test a couple of different Michelin tyre compounds this afternoon and the information we gathered is very positive. Fortunately we have another test next week and we will be hoping to maximise our time there before heading to Imola for the next race." Takuma Sato "This has been a good test overall; it's just a shame that the weather was so inconsistent over the last couple of days. However, we have completed a lot of tyre testing, which is very good preparation for the Spanish Grand Prix, and have done some good work with Honda on the new engine. The aero developments for Imola also look very promising. This is really the first time that I have driven the B·A·R Honda 006 chassis in Barcelona, apart from a few laps after the launch. I have always driven the '04 Concept car since then but the new chassis worked really well and is very fast and stable here." Anthony Davidson "I've had a really positive test this week in Barcelona and Valencia. The car ran faultlessly throughout and I was able to achieve nearly 1100kms over two days in Valencia, posting 143 laps on Wednesday alone, which is a fantastic result. I also achieved a personal best lap time during day one in Barcelona - over a second faster than my previous best time there. I'm really looking forward to testing in Vairano next week then competing in Imola in two weeks' time." Mark Ellis, Chief Test Engineer "This has been a very productive week of testing, despite losing a day to the weather on Thursday. We have completed almost 2000kms this week with only one car for three days and two cars today, as well as nearly 1100kms of wet tyre testing at Valencia on Wednesday and Thursday. We have successfully tested new aero components for the San Marino Grand Prix, tyres for the Spanish Grand Prix, as well as a new specification engine from Honda. All three drivers have run this week producing extremely competitive lap times and the car has demonstrated excellent reliability. We will continue our developments next week at Paul Ricard and Vairano, ahead of the first European Grand Prix at Imola in two weeks' time." Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development "We've had two tests this week as we push to keep up the momentum from the good results in the last two races. Engine reliability was good at the Valencia test, where we learned a lot about Michelin's new wet weather tyre. All three drivers participated in the Barcelona test, where we covered a lot of mileage and made progress with tyre selection for the Spanish GP. We had a problem on one engine which we will address at two more tests next week at Paul Ricard and Vairano. We are looking forward to continuing the fight with the other leading teams in the European season."