New Honda team principal Ross Brawn reckons that the extra week between races that comes with Formula One's traditional summer break could enable his drivers to be more competitive when the season restarts in Valencia.

The Brackley squad has struggled to maintain its early season promise - when, after a disastrous 2007 campaign, it appeared to be a potential midfield runner - and dropped back towards the Force India team through the summer swing in France, Britain and Germany. Although Rubens Barrichello took a strategic third place in the wet at Silverstone, it wasn't until the Hungaroring just over a week ago that Honda was able to introduce developments that could take the Brazilian and team-mate Jenson Button back into competition with the likes of Red Bull, Toro Rosso and Williams.

With a lack of refinement time prior to the race, however, neither driver felt that the RA108 had fully benefited from the suspension upgrade, and Brawn accepts that the downtime between Budapest and Valencia can only help the car become more of a threat.

"When you are looking at the improvements we are talking about with the suspension, they are difficult to quantify," he told the Sporting Life, "If you get the dampers working a bit better, you know it is better, but how much lap time or how much consistency does that really mean? It is difficult to quantify, so it will be interesting to see how it all works.

"This system has not been fully optimised because we haven't done enough rig testing on it. In the August break, we have got some time on rigs to really scan it properly and tune it properly for Valencia."

While he believes that the team is still making progress, despite attention naturally switching towards next season, Brawn admits that the latest refinements were limited by existing components on the car.

"It is still a fairly heavy compromise in terms of what we have had to achieve within the constraints of the gearbox," he revealed, "If that suspension philosophy was designed from scratch, it would not be as heavy as it has turned out to be.

"It does not achieve as much as it potentially could have done because, unfortunately, we were limited by the existing gearbox and other constraints, but it is a step in the right direction, although there is a limit to what we can do with this car."


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