The Honda Racing F1 Team today completed a four-day test at the Jerezcircuit in southern Spain in preparation for Round Eleven of the 2008 Formula One World Championship which takes place in Hungary on Sunday 3 August.
Straight after returning from the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim, the test began on Tuesday with the team's Test and Reserve Driver Alex Wurz at the wheel of the Honda RA108 for the first two days before race drivers Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button took over on Thursday and Friday respectively.
The test saw an intensive programme of activity focusing on the final stage of the team's mid-season aerodynamic upgrade, the evaluation of a new rear suspension and further running of the Bridgestone slick tyres which will be used for the 2009 season.
Alex's programme on Tuesday concentrated on the evaluation of the new rear suspension alongside running the latest bodywork parts for the RA108 over a total of 84 laps. He continued his driving responsibilities on Wednesday when the main test item was evaluation of the slick tyres with the RA108 in a reduced downforce configuration based on the levels which will be run in the 2009 season. Using both the medium and hard compound tyres, Alex completed 77 laps.
Rubens joined the team in Jerez on Thursday. He worked through a repeat of the programme which Alex completed on Tuesday, running the new rear suspension alongside the aerodynamic package which the team is evaluating in advance of the forthcoming race in Hungary.
Rubens completed 68 laps over the course of the day.
Jenson took over the wheel of the RA108 on Friday to bring the test to a conclusion. His schedule for the day saw the completion of the rear suspension and aerodynamic evaluations, alongside brake and set-up analysis.
Jenson completed 61 laps by the close of running
I enjoyed the opportunity to have two days of running in the car this week. The conditions were very good for testing, even when it became extremely hot as this puts the car and tyres under extra strain which is an excellentre liability test. We began with an evaluation of our new suspension components on Tuesday which provided some very interesting results. This was followed by a programme with the 2009 tyres on Wednesday with the aim of gathering data to assist in the development of our car for next season."
"I got a good feeling from the car with the new suspension and bodywork fitted on Thursday, although I did not complete a great deal of running due to the number of parts that we had to evaluate. It is difficult to know how much of a step forward we have made at a test such as this where our competitors were running a mixture of slick and grooved tyres, so we should be better able to assess our progress in Budapest next Friday."
"We ran the car with our latest aero and suspension developments today to complete the evaluations which have been on going all week.
"The new parts have made a small but tangible improvement to the stability of the car, which is particularly evident over longer runs, so it has been a positive day. It will be interesting to see how this translates over the race weekend in Hungary."
Steve Clark - Head of Race & Test Engineering
"This week's test in Jerez hasbeen particularly busy for the team with developments in all areas including aerodynamic, engine, suspension, brakes and tyres. We have successfully completed an ambitious programme over the four-day test, in intensely hot weather conditions, which is very satisfying. The significant upgrade to the rear suspension, which also brings an incorporated aero gain, has been evaluated by all three drivers who concur that the braking stability of the RA108 has improved.
"This is an issue which has previously prevented us from achieving a good balance on the car and, as well as being a gain for the remainder of this season, it will give us a strong direction for the 2009 car development. Also relevant to the 2009 car was the evaluation of the slick tyres by Alex. Using both compounds, we gained an important insight into what will be need to best exploit the tyres next year."