The Honda Racing F1 Team completed its final test of 2007 at the Jerez circuit in Spain today. The four-day test focused on the continued evaluation of the 2008 electronics system along with the opportunity to run the Bridgestone Potenza ‘slick’ tyres for 2009.
Jenson Button began the test on Tuesday to continue the team’s development work on the new electronics, which exclude traction control and drivers aids, and were tested for the first time at Barcelona in November. Jenson also completed an initial evaluation with the slick tyres, setting his fastest lap of the day whilst running on the slicks. He completed a total of 70 laps.
Rubens Barrichello joined the team for the second and third days of the test. On Wednesday, Rubens continued the programme with further tuning of the electronics, alongside braking systems development, and covered 103 laps. On Thursday, he spent the morning on electronics work before running the slick tyres in the afternoon, completing 89 laps in total.
The Honda engineers asked Anthony Davidson, a member of the wider Honda family, to complete the test on Friday in order to provide further perspective for the 2009 slick tyre evaluation. Anthony completed 102 laps over the day.
“The test in Jerez went well. I continued our work from Barcelona last month concentrating on the evaluation of the new electronics system which is compulsory for all teams next year. There are no driver aids with this system, which means no traction control and no engine braking control, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. You have to be very smooth and progressive with the throttle, which suits my driving style. I also had the opportunity to run on the slick tyres and that was fun. It was the first time that I have driven with slicks on an F1 car and I really enjoyed it. Obviously the downforce levels in 2009 will be different but I had a good feeling from this short trial.”
“It was very nice to be back driving the car this week for my first test since the last race of the season in Brazil. I had two good days of running without traction control as we worked on the development of the new electronics system to prepare for next year’s regulations. The only issue this week was the number of circuit red flags which seemed to happen whenever we tried to run on new tyres, so there was certainly a better lap time possible. It was also good to be using slick tyres once again this week.”
Steve Clark – Head of Race & Test Engineering
“This week’s test was our second session with the new electronics system. Recent work on the engine dyno has rectified the power delivery issues that we identified three weeks ago in Barcelona and has seen us make good progress on the track. This, and other work underway to adapt to the 2008 electronics regulations, is useful preparation ahead of the debut of the RA108 early next year and for this reason it has been a very productive test. The major talking point of this week was the opportunity to run the Bridgestone Potenza slick tyres which will be introduced in 2009. Additionally these tyres are planned for use without tyre blankets and a much reduced aero package. The combination of cold tyres and low downforce made for some pretty interesting out-laps for our drivers but overall they enjoyed the experience. For engineers and drivers alike, the return to racing on slicks is something we are very much looking forward to.”