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Honda-powered teams return to Barcelona

February 1, 2002

Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda and Jordan Honda were back in Barcelona this week to continue their pre-season testing programs in warm, dry conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya in Northern Spain.

B.A.R Honda’s Olivier Panis focused on general set-up work in the B.A.R Honda 004 on the first day (Monday) of the three-day test. Jacques Villeneuve joined the team on the second day (Tuesday) to continue the development program in the 2002-spec car, allowing Panis to concentrate on a Bridgestone tire-testing program in the B.A.R Honda 003. B.A.R Honda test driver Anthony Davidson was also on hand to drive the 2001-spec car and consolidate the long-term development work he began in Valencia last week.

On the third day (Wednesday) of the test Panis completed 77 laps in the B.A.R Honda 003 and set a best lap of 1:19.182s, fifth fastest of the day, while Villeneuve recorded a fastest lap of 1:20.312s in the B.A.R Honda 004, the eighth quickest time of the day.

Jordan Honda began a four-day test at the Spanish circuit on Tuesday with Takuma Sato and up-and-coming German 19 year-old Marcel Lasee, winner of the 2001 German Formula Renault Championship.

On the first day (Tuesday) of the test Sato executed systems checks and general set-up work in the Jordan Honda EJ12 while Lasee took to the track in the Jordan Honda EJ11, familiarizing himself with the car and carrying out some set-up work for the team. Giancarlo Fisichella joined Jordan Honda on the second day (Wednesday) to continue general set-up work in the Jordan Honda EJ11 and test development brakes and front suspension geometry.

Fisichella set his fastest time of the test today (Friday), with a lap of 1:21.00s, the sixth quickest of the day. Sato recorded his best time yesterday (Thursday) with a laptime of 1:20.34s, seventh fastest on the day. Shortly afterwards the Japanese driver stepped unhurt from a high-speed accident when his car suffered a broken axle.

Lasee, who set a best lap and eleventh fastest time of the day on the second day (Wednesday) of the test of 1:20.521s, was given the opportunity to drive a Formula One car through Deutsche Post Worldnet, one of Jordan’s primary sponsors, who actively support a German young driver program with the intent to recruit fresh talent to Formula One.

Both Honda-powered teams will be testing in Valencia next week. Jordan Honda begins a three-day test on 5 February and B.A.R Honda starts a five-day test on 6 February.

Shuhei Nakamoto, Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development commented: "The B.A.R Honda test in Barcelona went quite well. There were a few problems, which is usual in the early stages of running a new engine, but the causes were all identified and solutions found. We’ve gathered a lot of data and are progressing smoothly.

We experienced some problems later in the week at the Jordan Honda test, which unfortunately restricted our running time. However, a complete solution has been found for a serious problem we had at last week’s shakedown, which is an important step forward. We are focusing on next week’s testing, when we hope to make further progress."

Olivier Panis, B.A.R Honda, reflected: "Today (Wednesday) I completed a tire test program for Bridgestone in the BAR003 and am happy with the work we’ve done. We will continue with that program in Valencia next week as part of our preparation for the Australian Grand Prix. Once again today confirmed that the BAR004 feels mechanically much better than last year’s car."

Jacques Villeneuve B.A.R Honda, was feeling positive: "Today (Wednesday) was a better day for me. We did some good set-up work and the car felt better than it did yesterday so I’m feeling more positive."

Takuma Sato, Jordan Honda, commented: "It was nice to have a proper test with the new car, which I was able to drive for the first two days. We had a couple of problems, which have prevented us from getting a lot of running. But it’s important to get to know the new car and the last few days were positive and progressive. I have been doing some long runs, close to a race simulation and also some qualifying runs, which gave me an excellent feeling. Unfortunately today the axle broke on the last corner and I had quite a big shunt at around 250kph. I’m totally fine, but frustrated because I was doing a really fast lap time when it happened!"

Giancarlo Fisichella, Jordan Honda, said: "We had a few small problems today, but that is normal and you expect it when the car is new. During the four-day test we didn’t complete as many laps as we usually would at a test, but given the track time we had, our progress has been good and we are very close to our target lap time for the stage we’re at. I’m quite optimistic, but there is a lot of work to do in the next few tests."


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