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Barrichello: Honda upgrade a definite improvement 18 Apr 2008

Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda RA108 tests a variation on last year's 'elephant ears' aerodynamic modification. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, 15 April 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Honda RA108 tests a variation on last year's 'elephant ears' aerodynamic modification. Formula One Testing, Day Two, Barcelona, Spain, 15 April 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Jenson Button (GBR) Honda RA108. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Barcelona, Spain, 17 April 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Jenson Button (GBR) Honda. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Barcelona, Spain, 17 April 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton

Rubens Barrichello is optimistic Honda can break into the points at next weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix following a successful test for the team’s new aerodynamic package in Barcelona this week.

Honda have yet to score in 2008, but after running almost 220 laps of the Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday and Wednesday, Barrichello believes the Japanese team have taken a step forward with the latest developments to their RA108 machine.

“We ran our new aero upgrade for the first time and I'm encouraged by the performance,” said the Brazilian. “I felt a definite improvement, although the windy conditions made it difficult to quantify how much.

“We covered some good mileage and a lot of test items, particularly on Wednesday when I completed 140 laps. Overall I have good reason to be positive for the Spanish Grand Prix and I hope that we can get into the points there."

Honda’s head of race and test engineering, Steve Clarke, was more cautious in his predictions for the revised car, especially as the use of experimental slick tyres in this week’s test meant judging other teams’ form was even more difficult than usual.

"The development of the RA108 is progressing well and we had many items on the test agenda,” said Clarke. “Our major development is an aerodynamic update kit which successfully delivered a lap time improvement, however we will not know until the Spanish Grand Prix whether this translates into a significant step forward versus our competitors.”

Barrichello’s team mate Jenson Button joined the test on Thursday, but the arrival of bad weather meant he got only limited time in the car. Nevertheless, he too was upbeat about the imminent Barcelona race.

“I was only able to complete 42 laps, mostly on wet tyres, and could not really gather any information from those laps,” said the Briton. “Thankfully the team had three good days of testing earlier in the week so we are well prepared for the race weekend."

Barrichello and Button finished last year’s Spanish Grand Prix 10th and 12th respectively, both a lap down on the winning Ferrari of Felipe Massa.