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BAR Testing in Imola

The Honda launch press conference in Tokyo


The BAR Honda test team travelled to Imola this week for a three-day test (25 27 February) as part of their final preparations for the forthcoming Australian Grand Prix. Jacques Villeneuve took the wheel of the BAR Honda 005/01 chassis for all three days of the programme after Jenson Button was sidelined with a serious bout of flu. The main elements of this test were to run the latest evolution of the Honda engine and to carry out a Bridgestone tyre evaluation programme.

On day 1, Jacques completed 30 laps in warm and sunny conditions. An electrical hardware problem stopped the car in the morning but the team were able to address this over the lunch break and resumed running in the afternoon. Jacques commenced an evaluation of tyres for the Melbourne race and carried out some practice starts before his session ended with a hydraulic problem. His best time was a 1:22.860.

Jacques resumed testing on day 2 with the new Honda Melbourne specification engine. A gearbox problem which interrupted the morning session was resolved by mid-afternoon and the team concentrated on putting mileage on the new engine and continuing the Bridgestone tyre test. Jacques completed a total of 22 laps, setting the second fastest time of the day, 1:22.957.

The final day of testing today proved more productive. Using the latest evolution of the Honda engine, Jacques was able to complete a back-to-back evaluation of various sets of Bridgestone tyres, including Melbourne and Sepang specification rubber. An electrical problem briefly halted running but Jacques nonetheless completed 78 laps in total and set the fastest time of the day with a 1:21.381.

Takuma Sato was also in action this week at Silverstone National Circuit on Wednesday, shaking down the new BAR Honda 005/04 chassis that will be used by Jenson Button in Melbourne.

Concluding the test, Jacques commented: "We did a lot of laps today which was a huge improvement over the past couple of days. We chose the tyres that we will use over the next few races and we are satisfied with our choice. The car is quick and we didn't encounter any mechanical problems today, which is very encouraging. If we can finish races we will be in a good position to score points."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director for Honda Racing Development, added: "It has been another good test for the engine. The weather has been kind to us, we have covered several outstanding topics and made another step forward. We've done a check on the final race spec engine for Melbourne and will complete preparations with a final long run test at Paul Ricard on Saturday."


Sato during an earlier test


Test driver Anthony Davidson will conclude BAR's pre-season preparation with a one-day test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France on Saturday 29 February. We will keep you updated about the saturday test!



Results:

Day1 / 25-Feb-2003
Driver name Chassis Laps Completed Lap Time
J Villeneuve B.A.R Honda 30 1.23.03s
M Gene Williams * 1.24.43s
F Da Matta Toyota * 1.25.85s


Day2 / 26-Feb-2003
Driver name Chassis Laps Completed Lap Time
M Gene Williams * 1.22.93s
J Villeneuve BAR Honda 23 1.22.95s
F Da Matta Toyota * 1.23.12s
A Wurz McLaren * 1.23.53s
J Wilson Minardi * 1.23.94s
J Verstappen Minardi * 1.26.30s


Day3 / 27-Feb-2003
Driver name Chassis Laps Completed Lap Time
J Villeneuve BAR Honda 78 1.21.38s
M Gene Williams * 1.22.65s
A Wurz McLaren * 1.23.25s
R Zonta Toyocar * 1.23.70s


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