Honda's Young Driver Programme continued apace in testing at Jerez last week, as Mike Conway, Andi Zuber and Luca Filippi were all handed the opportunity to work with the Japanese outfit for a second time.

Each driver spent a day behind the wheel of a Super Aguri-Honda machine at the southern Spanish circuit, with the intention of building on the experience they had already gained at Barcelona last month and enabling the team to evaluate their development, consistency and speed over a further day of running. The programme focused on longer runs, working through various set-up changes on the car and shorter new tyre qualifying simulations.

The trio proved remarkably evenly-matched over the course of the three days, completing 280 laps between them and separated by a scant three hundredths of a second at the close of play. Zuber wound up marginally the quickest ahead of Filippi and Conway, though it was the latter who would show highest up on the timing screens, ending day one tenth fastest out of the 20 drivers present.

"It was nice to be driving a Formula 1 car again," enthused iSport International race-winner Zuber, "and to use the experience from Barcelona to start quickly and become familiar with the car quite early on. We started a little late because of the cool conditions and the number of red flags, but once the test was underway the work continued from Barcelona, especially concentrating on long runs and learning how to adjust the set-up of the car and work with the tyres.

"I completed a lot of laps which was good experience, and overall it was a lot of fun. Thank you to the team for all their support and professionalism - I was able to learn a great deal from working with Honda over the two tests."

"I had a very good day in the car and was pleased with what I was able to achieve," added fellow GP2 race-winner Filippi. "Generally I felt a lot more comfortable in the car compared to the Barcelona test. I felt I was able to find a good pace straightaway and continue to improve throughout the day.

"It was only a shame that we were not able to take full advantage of the new tyre run at the end of the day due to the number of circuit red flags. I would like to thank Honda for this opportunity though, as having two days in an F1 car at the end of my GP2 season is just the best you can get."

Conway - who unlike his fellow two testers was competing in his maiden season of GP2 this year after making the step up from British F3, where he won the championship in 2006 - was similarly content with the way proceedings had gone.

"It was great to get back in the car again after a couple of weeks' break from the Barcelona test," the Briton underlined. "I felt I was able to get back into the swing of things pretty quickly and learn more about the car and set-up.

"It was great to work with the Honda engineers and benefit from the experience they have of working with so many drivers. The feedback really helps you to learn and improve - a big thank you to Honda once again for the opportunity."

"It was a very productive test in Jerez," concluded Honda sporting director Ron Meadows, "and we were pleased to see Mike, Andi and Luca once again put in impressive performances. There was an obvious improvement in all three drivers - both on the track and in their physical fitness - since their first test at Barcelona in November.

"All three demonstrated good pace, provided strong feedback to our engineers and generally impressed with their attitude and application. They all have a promising future ahead of them, and the next stage for Honda is to evaluate the information we have gathered and gauge where we go from here."



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