F1: Honda Racing F1 Team’s Concept car debuts in Barcelona

In his new guise as a Honda Racing F1 Team driver Jenson Button, along with third driver Anthony Davidson, was at the wheel of the new 2006 Concept car this week as the team’s winter testing programme got underway in Barcelona.

The three-day test at the Circuit de Catalunya was the first of five tests scheduled prior to the track debut of the new RA106 on 25 January. Until then the team will run its interim Concept car, combining the 2005 race chassis with the newly-designed 2006 rear end components, including the all-new Honda V8 engine.
Running on Wednesday morning of the test was slightly delayed by the very low early morning temperatures. When he was able to go out on track, Anthony took the Concept car through its first shakedown runs completing 40 laps. Jenson spent most of his track time in the 2005 car completing 102 laps in total.

Further shakedown running continued in the Concept car on Thursday. Anthony completed 47 laps in the morning session before Jenson took over in the afternoon for his first run in the car. Jenson completed 37 laps and the car performed well throughout the day. Both drivers also ran through aero and suspension programmes in the 2005 car with Jenson completing 58 laps and Anthony completing 30 laps.

Continuous heavy rain and cold conditions prevented any running at the track this morning. Anthony went out briefly at the start of the session in the 2005 car for an installation run completing only 4 laps. There was little to be achieved from sending Jenson out in the Concept car which was confined to the garage for the morning. The track eventually became driveable by mid-afternoon and Jenson went out to work on engine settings in the Concept car. He completed 23 laps giving the chassis its first run in wet conditions. Anthony ran through a wet tyre evaluation completing 48 laps in total.

Jenson Button “Testing went really well this week. It was a shame that the weather conditions were not great but even so we were able to progress with the programme this afternoon and test the V8 engine. The new engine ran smoothly and we had no issues which was great. I also ran in this year’s car to evaluate various aero parts and again this went very well. It was a really good test and gave us a lot of information ready for Jerez next week.”

Anthony Davidson “It was good to get into the new Concept car and run it for the first time. The engine felt good although there are of course areas which we can improve over the next few weeks. I was pleasantly surprised with the power and feeling of the engine and its overall reliability. We did a lot of work on drivability and made some positive progress over the three days. It was also fun to get back in this year’s car for the last time to see off the V10 era.”

Mark Ellis, Chief Test Engineer “Despite the tough weather conditions this week, we have successfully run the Concept car for the first time which has proven to be extremely reliable in all areas. The new V8 engine and the 2006 electronics, gearbox and hydraulic systems have run continuously without any major issues which is a good start to our 2006 campaign. With the new engine and new regulations, everything is quite different and we have started the process of adapting and optimising the chassis, engine and tyres accordingly. This has also been the final real test for the 2005 chassis which has been used this week for aero testing.”

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development “It has been a good first test. We’ve collected all the data we hoped for and vibrations are at a level within the range expected. We’ve also identified areas to work on, such as drivability, and will focus on this in the coming weeks.”


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