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GP Week : Issue 1
TONIO SAYS: Honda is a good question mark. I think they have made a step forward but they seem to be struggling at the moment. You can never know. With Ross Brawn and the group of staff at Honda they are a strong team so they will get on top of their problems and for sure there will come a time when they make a big step forward. The drivers are experienced and sometimes we say that makes a difference, but they didn’t do it last year. If they are able to use Jenson and Rubens’ experience they will move forward. Honda Racing F1 Team Jenson Button (GBR) / Rubens Barrichello (BRA) celestial light at the end of the team’s dank tunnel. And then the car ran. Honda’s got to be wondering where it is going wrong. As Williams, Renault and BMW all attempt to hide their excitement and keep their 2008 expectations in check, Honda has spent the majority of pre-season testing at the bottom of the pile, scratching its head and working to achieve even the slightest modicum of consistency. That the RA108 is reliable is in no doubt. The team’s problem however has seemed to lie in the integration of the SECU (Standard Electronic Control Unit) to its engine and gearbox. Throttle mapping issues have seen difficulties arise in correctly adjusting the levels of torque delivered to the engine, while the team’s seamless shift gearbox is also suffering from the integration of the SECU. All this has led to snap oversteer and a car which is proving difficult to set-up. In the aero department however, the team’s new approach following the downforce issues suffered by the RA107 seems to be working. Each new upgrade has reportedly seen an increase in performance, although with the RA108’s mechanical grip issues, these gains have been small. It is perhaps telling that after the final group test in Barcelona, Honda continued its development work, alone, in Jerez. More telling still is the admission that the team’s aims thus far are not to catch their rivals, but to resolve the electronics issues in order to provide the basis for long-term progress. Ross Brawn will have that long term goal at the forefront of his mind, too. It will be a long slog, but the methodical and inspirational Briton could be just the man to give the team the direction and motivation it needs to refresh it from its hangover. JUAN Manuel Fangio, arguably the greatest driver who ever lived, was aged 46 when he won his fifth and final world championship in 1957. Last season, Sebastien Vettel at age 19 became the youngest points scorer in F1 history. But how young is the Formula One of today? We take a look at how the balance of age and experience will be weighed on the starting grid for the Australian Grand Prix. Williams: 45 Nico Rosberg 22 / Kazuki Nakajima 23 Renault: 48 Fernando Alonso 26 / Nelson Piquet 22 McLaren: 49 Lewis Hamilton 23 / Heikki Kovalainen 26 Toro Rosso: 49 Sebastien Bourdais 29 / Sebastian Vettel 20 BMW: 53 Nick Heidfeld 30 / Robert Kubica 23 Ferrari: 54 Kimi Raikkonen 28 / Felipe Massa 26 Toyota: 58 Jarno Trulli 33 / Timo Glock 25 Super Aguri: 59 Takuma Sato 31 / Anthony Davidson 28 Force India: 60 Adrian Sutil 25 / Giancarlo Fisichella 35 Honda: 63 Jenson Button 28 / Rubens Barrichello 35 Red Bull: 67 David Coulthard 36 / Mark Webber 31 The kids are alright … F1 teams and the cumulative age of their drivers F1 PREVIEW >> 27