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Willis cautious on RA106 pace

Rubens Barrichello in the new Honda, todayHonda's technical director Geoff Willis is cautious about making predictions on how competitive their new car will be before it takes to the track against its rivals.

The Japanese carmaker launched the new RA106 in Barcelona and the team have already set their sights on not only scoring their maiden F1 win, but on taking several victories this season.

And although Willis believes the wind-tunnel data has showed the new car will be competitive, he says it is too early to make predictions before they see how the car runs on track.

"We certainly feel that we understand the problems of last year a lot better," said Willis. "As we went through them more and more we were getting a better understanding and able to correlate what we saw on the track with what we saw in the wind-tunnel. We designed around some of the concepts that we unearthed at the end of last season.

"Certainly some of the numbers in the wind tunnel look very good but as always, we have seen this problem before. You just need to get out on the track and the car is behaving exactly as you want. In as much as you can get everything right when you first run the car, it certainly looks good and gives us a certain amount of confidence.

"So after the next few hours, today, tomorrow and Friday we will find out where we are likely to be."

Honda will start working with their new car today at the Barcelona circuit, where they will be able to measure its competitiveness against most of their rivals.

Willis, however, said the team's main interest right now is that the car runs reliably.

"I am hoping we will keep up the same level of reliability. It sometimes feels easy when you have a reliable car but it does mean that everybody has to do their job 100 percent correctly all the time and you can build the reliability in but it is one of those things that you always have to keep an eye on.

"It is always a struggle when you start off with some unreliabilities in the car, on the chassis side, engine or gearbox, it does hurt you a lot because you cannot build up the amount of running to see where the next fault has come from.

"The very fact that you cannot run stops you from seeing how to improve. Like many things in this business there is a virtuous circle and a vicious circle and you move a small amount from being not very reliable to being better than average and you keep building up. It is quite important. Most of our reliability comes from design and manufacture.

"We build it into the car, we really try to make sure we understood where unreliabilities come from in the previous year, engine side or chassis side, and we go out there and our focus in 100 percent reliability. That is difficult to achieve, but it is certainly our target."

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