Nakamoto pleased with new Hondas first run 25 Jan 2007
Hondas senior technical director, Shuhei Nakamoto, came away impressed after seeing the teams new car, the RA107, test for the first time on Wednesday at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya. Speaking at the cars official launch on Thursday, Nakamoto said he is confident the 2007 machine is more than ready to take on the challenge of the new season.
"We were pleased with the initial performance indications from our first full day of testing with the RA107, explained Nakamoto. There is a great deal of on-track development work to conduct before we embark on the racing season, however positive signs from the car's testing debut provide the reassurance that we have taken a good direction.
Work began on the RA107 almost as soon as the teams 2006 car, the RA106, made it race debut in March last year. The 2007 challenger is the result of ten months of development back at the teams UK bases in Brackley and Bracknell, combined with some longer-term projects from Hondas Research and Development department in Tochigi, Japan.
The main design challenge has been achieving improved aerodynamic efficiency whilst accommodating tough new safety regulations specific to the cars crash structures, continued Nakamoto. I am pleased that we have been able to achieve this objective at the same time as reducing the overall weight of the car. The RA107 also boasts some innovative packaging solutions, particularly around the exhaust and radiators, which allow for much tighter bodywork within what is generally a nicely integrated aerodynamic design package.
Other regulation changes, including the switch to a single tyre supplier and the use of a homologated engine for 2007, have also been taken into consideration. And Nakamoto believes that hard work back in the factory is now paying off for the team on track.
"We are pleased with the way we are developing our understanding of the Bridgestone Potenza tyres, he explained. Engine development has been no less of a challenge because of the homologation regulation. I am pleased with what we have achieved in terms of usable torque and fuel efficiency whilst limiting the engine to 19,000 rpm.
With the launch over, Honda will concentrate on testing to optimize the RA107 for its first race. The Australian Grand Prix, the opening round of the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship, takes place on March 16-18.