B·A·R Honda Mugello Test Report
April 30, 2004 Spain
The Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda team was back in action this week after its second-placed podium finish at the San Marino Grand Prix in Imola. Undertaking a three-day test in the B·A·R Honda 006 at the Mugello circuit in Italy were race drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato, together with third driver Anthony Davidson. Located in mountainous surroundings, the Mugello track is situated 30 kilometres north of Florence. The 5.245km circuit features a long straight and various chicanes which make it suitable for technical testing, especially for engine and aerodynamic work. Due to its location, weather conditions are often changeable, and the team experienced some warm, sunny mornings before the ambient temperatures became slightly cooler and rain set in. Anthony opened the team's testing at Mugello on day one by running through a tyre test in chassis 006-04. He completed his initial 14 lap run but had to stop out on the circuit with an engine oil leak which resulted in a small fire. On further inspection no serious damage to the car was found and Anthony resumed testing in the afternoon to complete his test programme of 98 laps (512kms). Jenson joined the programme on Thursday by taking over the driving duties from Anthony in chassis 006-04. He completed a total of 65 laps with his aerodynamic test and clocked the second fastest time of the day behind Takuma - a 1m19.601s. Takuma's two-day programme, which started on Wednesday, was largely concentrated on evaluating Michelin tyre options and an aerodynamic development for the forthcoming Spanish Grand Prix. He completed 109 laps with the second fastest time of 1m19.637s, only one tenth of a second behind Michael Schumacher's Ferrari. On his second day, Takuma continued his test in chassis 006-02 when his main programme was to evaluate the best options from day one's tyre test. In the afternoon, he set the fastest time of the day and indeed the test - a 1m19.150s - almost half a second quicker than the time Michael Schumacher recorded. Takuma completed a total of 66 laps on day two before rain brought the test programme to an early close. On Friday morning Jenson completed a short wet tyre test for Michelin before running through an aerodynamic programme. Despite the wet weather conditions, he completed 35 laps and set the fastest time of the morning - a 1m27.156s. Jenson's test programme was not resumed after lunch due to the circuit conditions and he was therefore unable to improve on his time set during this morning's running. Anthony took over in chassis 02 on Friday when despite the wet weather, he managed to clock the third fastest time of the morning - a 1m28.086s - just 0.325 seconds behind Barrichello's Ferrari. However, Friday afternoon saw Anthony set the fastest time of the day - a 1m20.150s - during a short tyre and aerodynamic test and he completed his day with a total of 81 laps. Jenson Button "Unfortunately we had a few minor problems at the test in Mugello. I'm disappointed that we didn't achieve all that we would've liked to in our test plan. We struggled for most of the first day to find a set-up that worked, but fortunately, towards the end, we were able to find a balance we were happy with. We concentrated most of our efforts on aerodynamics and testing new parts. For the second day of the test we also worked on tyres, but this was hampered a bit by the weather. It was positive to find that the car and tyres worked well in the wet conditions. I'm looking forward to the race in Spain now. We should have a good car there immediately and be competitive right from the beginning of the weekend." Takuma Sato "I am very pleased with the test we have completed at Mugello. In two days we have achieved high mileage completed mainly during a very successful tyre test on the compounds for Barcelona. We are hoping that another step forward that we have made in our aerodynamic package during this test will give us more grip for the high speed Barcelona circuit. I am particularly pleased with the results since I experienced extremely bad weather at our test at Paul Ricard. The set-up problem that I had during the San Marino Grand Prix has been resolved during this test and I am confident of achieving a good result in Barcelona next week." Andrew Alsworth, Test Team Manager "We have enjoyed a very productive test at Mugello this week. The car has been incredibly quick and reliable and it is great to be able to come to Ferrari's backyard and compete with them. The car's overall performance has been reflected by the time Takuma set on our second day of testing - a 1:19:150 - and the fastest time of the week." Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development "Weve completed the planned mileage on the Spanish race spec engine, and shown good speed again throughout the test this week. The atmosphere in the team is buoyant and we are aiming to continue our performance improvement at the Barcelona GP next weekend."