Honda take step forward in final Jerez test 07 Mar 2008
Honda concluded their preparations for the start of the 2008 season on Thursday following a three-day private test at the Jerez circuit in southern Spain. Jenson Button, Rubens Barrichello and reserve driver Alex Wurz each spent two days at the wheel of the RA108, reporting positive progress with the team's latest aerodynamic and mechanical developments.
With the first race in Australia just over a week away, Hondas test programme focused on the evaluation of the new parts to confirm the final specification for the first three flyaway races, along with qualifying, race start and race procedures. The team's three drivers, who form the most experienced driver line-up on the grid this year, completed 603 laps, over 2670 kilometres of running.
"Our final test before the start of the season went well this week and it was very useful to evaluate the new developments that we have on the car, reported Button. We completed some long run work in preparation for the race weekends and I was pleased that we have made a step forward in terms of performance."
Barrichello and Wurz also felt that the heavily-revised aero package was a step in the right direction, the team having so far struggled to get the best out of the RA108.
"I drove the car in the launch specification and with the new aero package this week, which was very useful to provide a direct performance comparison, said Barrichello. Today I completed a lot of running with the new developments which was very beneficial. It is difficult to know where we are compared to the competition as we were testing privately, but I definitely feel we have taken a step in the right direction.
"The new aero upgrades open up new opportunities for the set-up and enable us to make better use of the tyres, added Wurz. I have completed two full race simulations without any problems and I believe we are well prepared for the season opener."
Echoing the comments of the teams drivers, Steve Clark, head of race and test engineering, concluded: "It is clear that the new package is a good step forward, not just on a single lap but also over longer runs. Virtually all of the wings and bodywork components have been updated since the launch specification and to good effect. Testing conditions have been challenging with strong and very gusty winds, so we look forward to seeing how the package translates to the race track next weekend in Australia."
Button and Barrichello now head to Japan for the Honda Motor Sports pre-season press conference, which takes place in Tokyo on Monday, before continuing their journey to Melbourne.