Honda's senior technical director, Shuhei Nakamoto has confirmed that the Brackley-based outfit are expecting to see another 'small' improvement in performance at the French Grand Prix next weekend.

Thus far this season, Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello have both struggled with the RA107 and to date they have yet to score a single point, something that is more than a tad embarrassing considering Super Aguri, effectively the Honda 'B' team, have managed 4.

Following a positive three-day test at Jerez though, during which the team focused on the evaluation of new mechanical and aerodynamic updates, there is some reason for a bit of optimism.

"We made some good progress at the three-day test in Jerez this week where the excellent weather allowed us to fully complete our planned programme," stated Nakamoto. "We were therefore able to sign off various new mechanical parts and an aerodynamic upgrade for the RA107 as well as further improvements to the stability under braking. We expect a small improvement in performance in both qualifying and the race next weekend at Magny Cours."

Honda's engineering director, Jacky Eeckelaert made a similar assessment: "Our test in Jerez went well this week. We had three days of good and stable weather conditions which enabled us to complete our programme," he added. "Our work was mainly focused around preparation for the next two races in Magny Cours and Silverstone, therefore we evaluated new mechanical parts along with front suspension and aerodynamic updates.

"Our initial conclusion is that the results from this week are positive and that we have seen a good correlation between the track data and the results from the wind tunnel. Therefore we expect to make a small step forward in performance at the next race."

Button meanwhile, who concluded the programme at Jerez on Thursday, having taken over from tester, Christian Klien, was more cautious: "I had a productive day. I completed 122 laps and every single one of them was useful. We were testing our new aero and mechanical parts and I believe it was a positive test. However we need to wait until we get to Magny Cours next week to see where we stand compared to the other teams," he warned.

Asked about Magny Cours, which will host the eighth round in the championship, Jenson added while it can be a 'tricky circuit to get a lap absolutely right' it is also a lot of 'fun' to drive and 'very fast'.

"The start is particularly important, regardless of what side of the grid you are on, and you have to position yourself well for the first two corners to get a good run down the straight to the Adelaide hairpin," he continued. "This is really the only place on the circuit where you can have a real chance of overtaking.

"The key to a really quick lap around here is getting the front end of the car working well, particularly for turns one and two. You can lose a lot of time at turn two if you have too much understeer in the car. You also need to have good car stability to make the most of the high speed chicanes," he summed-up.

 

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