Both Honda-powered teams have completed their penultimate pre-season test
sessions and are now back in the UK preparing for their final test prior to the
start of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship in Australia on 3 March.
Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda completed a five-day test in Valencia last week while
Jordan Honda returned from an encouraging three-day test in Barcelona on
Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis were on track in their B.A.R Honda 004s for
the entirety of the Valencia test and were joined by test drivers Anthony
Davidson and Ryo Fukuda for the final two days (Saturday and Sunday). Frustrated
by a lack of running time over the first three days of the test, mainly due to
numerous red flags, B.A.R Honda used the final two days to concentrate on set-up
and aero work in preparation for the Australian Grand Prix.
The team benefited from quieter track conditions over the weekend and Villeneuve
set the fastest time on Saturday morning of 1:12.9s. On the final day (Sunday)
of the test Panis recorded a best lap and third fastest time of the day of
1:12.7s. Davidson had his first run in the 2002-spec car, setting a personal
best time at the Valencia circuit of 1:14.3s after just five laps. Fukuda, who
was at the wheel of a B.A.R Honda 003 at his second test with the team,
continued to familiarize himself with the car and recorded a fastest lap of
1:14.1s on Sunday, the fifth quickest time of the day.
Jordan Honda completed a three-day test on Wednesday in mostly warm, dry and
sunny conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona. Takuma Sato took to
the track in his Jordan Honda EJ12 and worked on engine mapping and aerodynamic
development. On the final day (Wednesday) of the test Sato carried out race
simulation work, tire testing and general set-up development, recording a best
lap and third fastest time of the day of 1:18.9s. Fisichella joined the team on
the second day (Tuesday) of the test and focused on aerodynamic development and
general set-up work in his Jordan Honda EJ12. On the final day (Wednesday) of
the test the Italian set a best lap and fifth fastest time of the day of
2001 German Formula Renault Champion Marcel Lasee joined the team for the start
of the test on Monday and had his first drive in the Jordan Honda EJ12. Lasee
devoted his efforts to general set-up, aerodynamic work, brake testing and tire
testing. The young German was invited to join the test at short notice while
Giancarlo Fisichella spent an extra day resting, following an accident during
testing at Valencia last week, when he bruised his knee.
Both Honda-powered teams are now preparing for their final pre-season test
before the Australian Grand Prix. Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis will head
up B.A.R Honda’s four-day test at the Circuit Paul Ricard in France, starting on
18 February. On the same day Jordan Honda will begin a four-day test session at
Silverstone with Giancarlo Fisichella and Takuma Sato.
SHUHEI NAKAMOTO, RACE AND TEST TEAM MANAGER, HONDA RACING DEVELOPMENT REFLECTED:
“It’s been a difficult week as we’ve suffered a number of engine problems.
However, we know what has caused the problems, and we will fix them for the
tests next week at Silverstone and Paul Ricard. It’s hard at the time when
problems happen, but it’s better that they happen now rather than in the races !
We’re looking forward to next week’s tests when we’ll be running the Melbourne
spec engine. “
OLIVIER PANIS, B.A.R HONDA, SAID: “We had a frustrating time for the early part
of the test and we didn’t get as much track time as we wanted due to red flags,
but the last two days (Saturday and Sunday) were more productive and we were
able to focus on set-up and aero work in preparation for the Australian Grand
JACQUES VILLENEUVE, B.A.R HONDA, COMMENTED: “The car worked well this test and
was fun to drive. I wasn’t able to get as much running in as I would have liked
because of the red flags, but we completed some useful development work over the
weekend in preparation for the start of the season.”
TAKUMA SATO, JORDAN HONDA, SAID: “It’s been a good test, especially today
(Wednesday). A problem stopped me from finishing the full race distance, which I
really wanted to do. The new car is improving all the time, though, and everyone
is working very hard, so at the Silverstone test next week we should have ironed
out the problems and I will be able to complete a race distance then.”
GIANCARLO FISICHELLA, JORDAN HONDA, FEELS CONFIDENT: “We had a couple of
problems this week, but overall it’s been productive, particularly the last day.
It was good to do a race distance. I’m looking forward to the season with
confidence in the new engine and the car seems to be getting better each day.”
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