Turning up the heat

06.04.2007: Turning up the heat

The Honda Racing F1 Team starts to hone its RA107s to the demanding Sepang circuit. 

The Honda Racing F1 Team completed three hours of practice at the Sepang International Circuit today, during which the drivers and engineers completed their final preparations for Sunday’s Malaysian Grand Prix.

The two 1.5-hour sessions took place in sweltering conditions, making it physically tough for everyone in the team. As Jenson Button said yesterday in his press briefing, "doing even the smallest tasks in this heat is hard work".

But both Jenson and his team-mate Rubens Barrichello have trained for these demanding conditions and they felt comfortable in the 37-degree heat. The track temperature was even hotter, peaking at 58 degrees in the middle of the afternoon, so the team spent a lot of time analysing the wear rates of Bridgestone’s prime and option tyres ahead of the 56-lap race.

In session one, after struggling to balance their cars on a very dusty circuit, Jenson and Rubens ended up in 19th and 20th positions. Prior to session two, they both made some significant changes to the set-ups of their RA107s and managed to improve their lap times as a result.

Jenson ended the day 15th fastest after finding an improvement in the afternoon, while Rubens had a specific problem with his car and finished six places further back.

There is then one more practice session tomorrow morning prior to the start of qualifying.

JENSON BUTTON

"Well, a tough day really trying to find a balance. Initially the circuit was very dusty but as the track improved through the day we were able to work on the car more. The fact remains however that we are still a long way from where we want to be."

RUBENS BARRICHELLO

"It's simply the case that we have had a very bad day. To end the day where I am is obviously extremely frustrating. We were not able to improve the braking stability issues that we have, so all I can say is that we need to look at what we have learned today and try to find a solution that can get us back to where we were during the test last week."

JACKY EECKELAERT

Engineering Director

"Following a reasonably positive test here last week, which saw some improvement in car performance, we were obviously hoping to carry that progress through into the race weekend. We have experienced very different track conditions today compared with those we saw at the test and this has made it difficult to achieve a good balance. At the close of the session we had made some progress with Jenson's car, however with Rubens' car we have a specific problem which we have not yet solved and that is something we will be looking into immediately."

FREE PRACTICE 1

1 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1:34.972

2 Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Mercedes) 1:35.220

3 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) 1:35.712

4 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 1:35.779

5 Nico Rosberg (Williams-Toyota) 1:36.308

6 Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault) 1:36.522

7 Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 1:36.597

8 Kazuki Nakajima (Williams-Toyota) 1:36.885

9 Ralf Schumacher (Toyota) 1:37.052

10 Robert Kubica (BMW) 1:37.121

11 David Coulthard (Red Bull-Renault) 1:37.484

12 Sebastian Vettel (BMW) 1:37.837

13 Vitantonio Liuzzi (STR-Ferrari) 1:37.882

14 Heikki Kovalainen (Renault) 1:38.143

15 Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) 1:38.300

16 Adrian Sutil (Spyker-Ferrari) 1:38.720

17 Takuma Sato ( Super Aguri-Honda) 1:38.966

18 Scott Speed (STR-Ferrari) 1:39.130

19 Rubens Barrichello (Honda) 1:39.234

20 Jenson Button (Honda) 1:39.331

21 Anthony Davidson (Super Aguri-Honda) 1:39.357

22 Christijan Albers (Spyker-Ferrari) 1:40.074

 

FREE PRACTICE 2

1 Felipe Massa (Ferrari) 1:35.780

2 Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) 1:35.910

3 Heikki Kovalainen (Renault) 1:36.106

4 Kimi Räikkönen (Ferrari) 1:36.160

5 Nico Rosberg (Williams-Toyota) 1:36.523

6 Alexander Wurz (Williams-Toyota) 1:36.621

7 Robert Kubica (BMW) 1:36.717

8 Ralf Schumacher (Toyota) 1:36.760

9 Lewis Hamilton (McLaren-Mercedes) 1:36.797

10 Nick Heidfeld (BMW) 1:36.862

11 Mark Webber (Red Bull-Renault) 1:36.906

12 Fernando Alonso (McLaren-Mercedes) 1:37.041

13 David Coulthard (Red Bull-Renault) 1:37.203

14 Takuma Sato (Super Aguri-Honda) 1:37.282

15 Jenson Button (Honda) 1:37.578

16 Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 1:37.712

17 Vitantonio Liuzzi (STR-Ferrari) 1:37.855

18 Anthony Davidson (Super Aguri-Honda) 1:38.334

19 Adrian Sutil (Spyker-Ferrari) 1:38.419

20 Scott Speed (STR-Ferrari) 1:38.650

21 Rubens Barrichello (Honda) 1:38.713

22 Christijan Albers (Spyker-Ferrari) 1:39.807

 

- Honda -

photos on automobilsport.com under PHOTOS - FORMULA

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06.04.2007 / MaP

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