Image credits: © Honda.
2007 Honda RA107
Honda Racing F1 Team launches pioneering environmental concept
The Honda Racing F1 Team today announced a major new initiative for the 2007 Formula 1 season. To help raise awareness of the environmental issues facing the planet, the RA107 F1 car will simply feature a huge image of earth, in place of the advertising and sponsor logos which have featured and dominated all other F1 cars for decades.
The car's new look is a powerful call to action for fans, sponsors, customers and members of the public to join Honda's commitment to help address the environmental issues facing the world.
Via the websitewww.myearthdream.com, anyone who wishes, will have the opportunity to have their name on the car, make a pledge to make a lifestyle change to improve the environment and make a donation to an environmental charity. Únder the concept of 'our car is your car', each name will form a tiny individual pixel which will help build the image of planet earth on the car. Each name will be visible on the website when you make the pledge or under a microscope on the car.
Úniversal Music, the largest music company in the world, and Gatorade are the first global brands to partner the team in this exciting new concept. Existing partners have enthusiastically embraced the idea and all remain involved with the team for the 07 season. In addition, the team is delighted to announce that Fila, IBM, Instron, Oliver Sweeney, Perkin Elmer, Showa Denko, TÚV and GF Agie Charmilles have joined the roster of team partners and suppliers.
The Honda Racing F1 Team will work closely with global environmental charities to develop Honda's existing environmental ethos within the world's most high profile motor-sport.Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer, Honda Racing F1 Team
'Climate change is probably the single biggest issue facing our planet and F1 is not immune from it. On the contrary we believe that F1 with its huge global profile and cutting edge technology can play an important role in not only highlighting the issues but also playing our part in developing solutions. In addition, the FIA recognises the opportunity for F1 to play an important role in developing technologies for the benefit of society long term. For example, by 2009, devices for energy recovery will be in place on the cars.
'So we at Honda F1 are proud to dedicate our car to the environmental challenge. We believe that solutions can stem directly from engineers working on our F1 program and are working harder than ever to achieve our dreams and win the World Championship while embracing and underscoring Honda's environmental ethos.'
'First and foremost, we are a race team and F1 is very much a team sport. We achieve our racing objectives only by working together and parallels can be drawn with the way that we must all join together to address the environmental challenge. We hope that in raising awareness and highlighting the issues we will encourage members of the public to come together and help take on the challenge of climate change'.Yasuhiro Wada, Chairman, Honda Racing F1 Team and General Manager, Honda Motor Company
'Honda has a huge desire to challenge for this year's 2007 F1 World Championship. We hope this year will be a successful and exciting season. Equally we intend to give something back in the form of our new environmental F1 concept, which we believe will bring something fresh and new to motor sport.'
'Honda constantly strives to be innovative in both its technology and its thinking and to sincerely respond to the demands of customers and society. Honda has always made great efforts to contribute to the preservation of the environment in its corporate activity. We hope this new initiative for Honda in F1 will help to further stimulate awareness and interest across the world for these important environmental issues.'Source - Honda
Honda RA107: The Dark Horse
Appropriately unveiled in an all-black paint scheme, Honda F1 racing and its RA107 may prove to be the dark horses in this year's championship fight. Last year Jenson Button slipped through the field from fourteenth to score his first ever win. With the exception of that win, no other team besides Renault and Ferrari scored a win the entire season. And, while unveiled at Barcelona without a paint scheme, Honda hopes to keep other things besides a paint job under wraps until there is nothing the other teams can do about it.
In 2005 Honda purchased 100% of the shareholding rights between itself and partner British American Tobacco. This led to Honda fielding its first chassis since 1968. In between those moments, Honda simply concentrated on supplying powerful engines. When Honda joined forces with BAR it also took on the task of aiding in the development of the team's chassis. This primarily started as a result of needing to design the car around its engines in a manner that made the most of the powerplant. Now though the team was not new, 2006 offered something of a challenge for Honda since it took on the responsibility of developing an entire package for the world championship. Last year's RA106 provided the team with a stable and competitive platform, however, Honda believes the RA107 takes those competitive features and accents them with an entire package capable of consistent victory and points scoring ability. Honda believes the RA107 and the team's continuity will mean the team will be able to repeat its 2004 second-place finish in the constructor's championship, if not even better.
To meet those goals, Honda's engineers took the RA106 to form the basis for the RA107 but made some refinements to improve an already good chassis. With engine development frozen for the next couple of years, Honda's concentration had to be focused on aerodynamics and component development. And like with most teams, a lot of effort has been put into small changes meant to make the car the most efficient it can be. To do this, Honda has employed the use of fluid dynamics software. In fact, BAR Honda was one of the first to use fluid dynamics software when it was designing the RA106. This software enabled the team to efficiently understand changes to airflow when it passes over or around elements of a car's design. This software also aided Honda's engineers to understand the effects changes had on other parts of the car.
Some of the most prominent aspects seen on the RA107 are the large sidepod flicks and the triple-deck design of the rear flicks. The RA107 chassis is void of many of the barge boards that many other teams carry on their designs. Therefore, as a compromise, a large set of sidepod flicks are incorporated for better downforce and directional control of the airflow around the car and into the 'Coke bottle' shape design of the car's rear bodywork. Also, to aid in downforce and control of the airflow around the rear-wheels of the car, Honda has employed a Williams-esk triple deck design. These changes only represent a couple of the changes the 107 bears over the 106 of last year.
While obviously there will be changes made as improvements are realized and as the tracks and race conditions stipulate, the RA107's rear wing, as unveiled, is void of many of the arcs and curves most rear wings have today. The twin-pillar support design, however, remains on this year's chassis. Honda has incorporated in the RA107's design a mid-deck wing profile that attaches to the rearward tip of the dorsal fin-style engine cowling. Again, this is another feature meant to help with stability and airflow control. Another physical change made was to the exit location, and then therefore, the position of the exhaust pipes. Last year's design placed the exhaust pipes tighter together and further back than this year's design.
As mentioned earlier, the RA107 utilizes a complicated tri-deck rear flick design that is quite a bit changed from last year's model. The RA106 used a dual-deck design attaching to the side of the rear part of the sidepod. The RA107 uses a single rear flick but adds an extra panel to effectively provide two paths for the airflow. Also, the RA107 incorporates another panel mounted to the T-wing to; in essence, provide another means for controlling airflow over the rear-wheels and toward the rear-wing. Speaking of the T-wing design, it has been enlarged and re-designed with a much larger scoop in order to further aid in generating downforce for the car. And though slightly altered in design, the chimneys that remain bear a rather close resemblance to those designed for the 106.
Design changes made further towards the front of the car include a re-styled deck-plate, and nose. Though a not readily noticed but important part of a Formula One car is the deck-plate. This helps with airflow under the car and the downforce vacuum needed to help keep the car on the track. Again, Honda utilizes different techniques to help control this airflow, and this is what the deck-plate helps to do down on the lower parts of the car. One interesting feature employed on the RA107 is a bulkhead flap/fairing. Last year there were many teams that played around with designs called nose flaps. These were supposedly able to help direct and impact airflow all the way to the back of the car. Honda has developed a rather different idea than a barge board or nose flap. Honda has designed a fairing or flap that attaches to the nose bulkhead directly in front of the cockpit. This will help to direct airflow toward the radiator inlets and over the sidepods.
As for the nose, last year's design had a slightly larger shape and sharper corners. The RA107's nose narrows toward its end in a manner similar to the design incorporated on the McLarens. The nose is attached to the wing, however, with a pillar design that is wider than the nose so to help keep as much airflow as possible flowing under the nose so that it will strike the diffuser, split to go into the radiators, and to then pass around the car. This is undoubtedly due to the fact last year's design got enough air under the nose to the diffuser but was not as effective in controlling airflow and impedance in other areas with its nose design. This fact can be easily seen with the tweaks made to the front wing itself. The front-wing unveiled lacked the large scoop it had last year, and this only further helps to control the air flowing in and around the front of the car.
Though not easily seen, other changes have been made to the 107. The suspension and steering have been updated to better utilize and accommodate the Bridgestone tires. These changes have helped to make the car more stable and responsive during testing and, with the incorporation of tweaked aerodynamics and a revised traction control, have truly helped Honda to make as much use of the tires and available grip as possible.
It's hard to say whether these changes will prove to be what Honda needs to really mount a challenge of Renault's and Ferrari's dominance. However, if the black paint scheme advertised anything it is that Honda has the potential—it is the dark horse. Those in and around Formula One, when it comes to Honda, know better than to overlook the team, ever. And, with its already powerful engines, the RA107's features may be all that's needed to allow Honda to re-establish its lineage as a championship breed.By Jeremy McMullen
Honda Unveils New F1 Challenger
Following a successful debut for the Honda Racing F1 Team's new RA107 race car on the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, the team's management and drivers provided a technical insight into the car and their first impressions of the new challenger from the track.
With the RA107 sporting its black and white testing colors in preparation for a reveal of the new team livery next month, the focus was on the development of both team and car since the Honda Racing F1 Team concluded 2006 with a strong 4th place in the Constructors' Championship. As the team put the new car through its paces, the team's management, together with race drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello, spoke of their intent to strive for even greater success in 2007.Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer
'We are proud to present the product of a year's excellent co-operation between Honda facilities in the ÚK and Japan. Although the different engineering groups have worked closely for several years, the RA107 is a true international team effort involving hour by hour communication, strong team work and great team spirit across the globe. This year we aim to build on the latter part of the 2006 season and successful pre-Christmas testing, during which we completed more testing than any other team. We intend to benefit from continuity of drivers and key personnel, combined with performance improvement designed into the new RA107 using our full-scale wind tunnel which was completed last season, to move closer to realizing our World Championship ambitions.'Shuhei Nakamoto, Senior Technical Director
'We were pleased with the initial performance indications from our first full day of testing with the RA107. There is a great deal of on-track development work to conduct before we embark on the racing season, however positive signs from the car's testing debut provide the reassurance that we have taken a good direction.
'The RA107 is the result of ten months of design, development and manufacture which began almost as soon as the RA106 made its race debut. It combines the efforts of our staff in Brackley and Bracknell with some longer-term projects which have been underway for some time at Honda R&D in Tochigi.
'The main design challenge has been achieving improved aerodynamic efficiency whilst accommodating tough new safety regulations specific to the car's crash structures. I am pleased that we have been able to achieve this objective at the same time as reducing the overall weight of the car. The RA107 also boasts some innovative packaging solutions, particularly around the exhaust and radiators, which allow for much tighter bodywork within what is generally a nicely integrated aerodynamic design package.
'In addition, we are pleased with the way we are developing our understanding of the Bridgestone Potenza tires and our progress in this area has been due to a combination of the simulation work conducted at our Brackley headquarters and an extremely productive pre-Christmas testing program which saw our team achieve more mileage than our competitors.
'Engine development has been no less of a challenge because of the homologation regulation. I am pleased with what we have achieved in terms of usable torque and fuel efficiency whilst limiting the engine to 19,000 rpm.
'We now look forward to the next challenge of optimizing the RA107 for the first race in Melbourne on 18 March, with a comprehensive pre-season development program.'Jenson Button
'I am looking forward to driving the RA107 for the first time later today, when I will be able to see the result of many months of hard work in Japan and England between both our team and drivers.
'I drove the RA106 here yesterday using the new Bridgestone Potenza tires for the first time. Today's run will give me the benefit of a direct comparison between the two chassis. Although I have been out of the car for a while, I am very pleased with my return to the cockpit and also my fitness level, which I have been working hard on since Christmas.'Rubens Barrichello
Source - Honda
'We had an encouraging first day of running with the new RA107 here in Barcelona yesterday and my first impressions were good ones. I am impressed by how the car and the team have evolved during my first year here and it is clear that the RA107 is a step in the right direction.'