Honda have unveiled their 2007 contender – named the RA107 – in Spain at the popular winter testing track Circuit de Catalunya. Although the teams new livery will not be ready for another month, the new car was dressed in the teams testing colour of black. Finishing in an improved 4th place in the 2006 season, Honda concentrated on developing the car further in the hope that both drivers can win in 2007 – something Jenson Button managed once last year at Hungary.
The team took to the circuit today to run the new car, although the shakedown didn’t go quite as well as planned. Jenson had been out of action in the pre-Christmas test sessions due to a rib injury he suffered while karting. However, as soon as he got out on track, his new Honda ground to a halt after just three corners. Jenson was able to return to the track later and complete further shakedowns. Jenson’s team mate Rubens Barrichello completed 40 trouble-free laps in the new car, and both were buoyed by its performance, despite Buttons minor set back.
At the cars launch, Jenson Button was pleased to inform everyone that his fitness levels have returned to normal following his injury and his objective to move closer to the target of winning the World Championship.
I am looking forward to driving the RA107 for the first time later today, when I will be able to see the result of many months of hard work in Japan and England between both our team and drivers.
I drove the RA106 here yesterday using the new Bridgestone Potenza tyres for the first time. Today’s run will give me the benefit of a direct comparison between the two chassis. Although I have been out of the car for a while, I am very pleased with my return to the cockpit and also my fitness level, which I have been working hard on since Christmas.
We enjoyed a strong second half to the season last year and of course our first win together will always be special. This year we will hopefully make even greater strides towards our dream of winning the World Championship together and I feel that as we enter our second year under full Honda ownership we have a realistic opportunity of moving closer to that objective. There is a great deal of work to be done between now and Australia. Jenson Button.
Rubens Barrichello echoed Jenson’s optimism, and praised the stability of the Honda operation.
We had an encouraging first day of running with the new RA107 here in Barcelona yesterday and my first impressions were good ones. I am impressed by how the car and the team have evolved during my first year here and it is clear that the RA107 is a step in the right direction.
The RA107’s new steering and suspension geometry is better suited to the new Bridgestone Potenza tyres, giving a good balance. The revised traction control system also makes it possible for us to get closer to maximising the potential of the tyres.
I feel confident about the season ahead because I know the importance of a stable team of key staff and drivers. It’s great that we have that advantage. I also know just how much work has gone into this car throughout the whole Honda Racing F1 Team organisation and I believe that kind of effort will move us closer to achieving our Championship ambitions. I know that 2007 can be special so I am looking forward to the start of the season. Rubens Barrichello.