Honda team boss Alessando Mariani says he is pleased with the initial running of the TC1-spec Civic that will debut in the World Touring Car Championship this season.
Honda completed its third test with the car at Paul Ricard this week as it ran alongside rivals Citroen for the first time, with Gabriele Tarquini and Tiago Monteiro both spending time at the wheel of the car they will campaign during the year ahead.
Speaking to the official series website following the test, Mariani said he was pleased with the initial performance 'out of the box' and happy with the improvements already made from the running carried out to date.
“When you start testing with a car that was built for new technical regulations, the first thing you must seek is reliability,” he said. “If the car is not reliable, you cannot test properly and this becomes a major problem when you are working on a tight schedule. We had a few early issues and solved them quickly.
“We were able to investigate a couple of different options in the development, which proved that the car is sound and reacts always in the way we expect. Testing is crucial. We have started long after Citroën, but before the others. All in all we are happy, because the car is improving quickly and we are now focusing on the tuning set up for the homologation.”
Mariani added that the introduction of the TC1 rules so soon after Honda debuted the previous generation of Civic had left no time to relax for the team, and said the decision to start testing ahead of 2014 only after a full car was complete had been the right one.
“The most demanding fact is that since February 2012 we have been working flat on designing, developing and building the WTCC cars,” he said. “The switch to the new TC1 regulations meant that we had no time to pause for breath. However, this meant also a new challenge and motivations that help you to forget the tiredness coming from two years of full commitment.
“Because finalising the regulations was taking a longer time, we opted to start testing after the new car was ready. This was the only solution quick enough for building the two works cars and the additional two for the customer teams in time. Customers are an important part of Honda's WTCC programme and we cannot be late in delivering their cars. We are happy we went this way, because after only a few test sessions the new Civic is already on a good level.”