Honda: 2008 Turkish GP preview 

Written by David on May 02nd, 2008 at 8:06 pmLast Update: May 02nd, 2008 at 8:06 pm

Honda RacingQ: How do you expect the Honda Racing F1 Team to perform at the Turkish Grand Prix? Ross Brawn: “Istanbul Park is a great race track which our drivers really enjoy. Although there is no opportunity to test before this race, we will have some small refinements to the car and aero package to suit the characteristics of this particular circuit. I am expecting the RA108 to perform slightly better around Istanbul Park than in Barcelona, where we suffered with ride quality over the bumpy surface, so I believe we can look forward to challenging for the top ten in qualifying and hopefully scoring points again.”

Q: How important to the team was Jenson’s sixth place in Barcelona? Ross Brawn: “We were extremely pleased to pick up our first points of the season in Barcelona and it was just reward for the efforts that everyone has put in over the last few months. We took many positives from the race weekend, including the good performance of the new aero package and our strategy working well, with the execution of the pit stops being especially good. Of course, there are challenges to be overcome, however I am confident we have the right attitude and commitment to resolve these. There is tremendous potential in this team and our three points in Barcelona was the first step at the start of a very intense few months of racing.”

Q: What are your thoughts on the Istanbul Park circuit? Jenson Button: “The Turkish Grand Prix is one of my favourite races on the calendar and I’ve had a couple of good results here in 2005 and 2006, finishing in the top five on both occasions.The track layout is excellent with the changes in elevation making it a tough but enjoyable circuit for the drivers. There are some really good overtaking opportunities at turn one and turn three, with a chance of passing into turns nine and 12 if you get it right.”

Q: Knowing the strengths of the RA108, do you expect the car to be competitive at the Turkish Grand Prix? Jenson Button: “The Spanish Grand Prix was our first major upgrade to the RA108 and the new aero package definitely gave us a performance improvement over the weekend. It’s good to know that we are improving the car step-by-step and I was able to develop a good understanding of the new developments. The car that we take to Turkey will be essentially the same package, therefore our focus will be getting onto Q3 and qualifying in the top 10. Turkey is a circuit that I have always been competitive at, and really enjoy driving, so I am hopeful that we will have a good race.”

Q: How physical is Istanbul Park for the drivers? Rubens Barrichello: “The Istanbul Park track is fairly challenging from a drivers’ point of view as it runs anti-clockwise which is unusual and the undulations are quite extreme which can make for an exciting lap. I have been impressed with the circuit since we started racing here in 2005. The lap itself has a nice flow, and most importantly, it’s a good racing track with overtaking opportunities, which have led to some exciting races. The highlight for most drivers is the high-speed turn eight where the triple apex is really quick, blind and tough on your neck.”

Q: You reach 257 Grand Prix appearances this weekend. What does this mean to you? Rubens Barrichello: “Becoming the most experienced Formula One driver ever means a great deal to me. I’ve had a long career in Formula One and I have so many wonderful memories, but I don’t feel any different today to the day when I started out on this journey in 1993. My first race, at Kyalami, seems like yesterday. I must thank my family and friends for their unwavering support through the years. I was lucky enough to start my career in F1 at a young age and I love racing as much as ever and, importantly, I still love Formula One. While people will look back at my 16-year career in Turkey, I’m still looking forward and the next race is the one that matters the most.”

source: Honda Racing

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