Following a disappointing showing in Turkey Honda believe they can once again target points this weekend, the upgraded RA108 showing the kind of pace it had in Barcelona when Jenson Button scored the team’s first championship points of the year.
Both Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello ran strongly in Thursday warm up at the Principality, the Honda duo lapping eighth and tenth quickest respectively.
With time running out before development switches to next year’s car, Honda are hoping the recently upgraded RA108, complete with ‘elephant ear’ nose winglets, will yield further championship points.
“We had a good test at Paul Ricard last week and it appears that our relative performance is back to where we were at Barcelona,” explained Steve Clark, Honda’s Head of Engineering.
“It is never wise to be over confident at Monaco as there are so many variables affecting the race outcome. From a performance point of view we are hopeful of getting into the points on merit.”
The Englishman admitted that the wet weather that is predicted for the weekend might just play into Honda’s hands.
“There is a chance of rain on Saturday and Sunday which at this track amounts to a big roll of the dice. We will be looking to take advantage of any opportunity to move further up the field.”
Both Button and Barrichello are likewise unfazed by the prospect of rain and are optimistic of their chances in the race.
“I’m confident that we will be in a good position for qualifying and also well prepared for any changes in the weather conditions,” confirmed Button.
“I believe we can have a good weekend; so let’s hope that this is the case,” added Barrichello. The weather will no doubt play a part on Saturday and Sunday as it looks like we will have some rain.”
Leaving aside 2005 when Honda were on a two-race ban for having an underweight car and illegal fuel system, the Brackley based outfit have traditionally run well at the Monegasque street circuit.
Last year, Barrichello and Button managed to hustle the ill-handling RA107 up to ninth and tenth on the grid respectively. And in 2006 the duo lined up fourth and sixth, the Brazilian again out-qualifying his British team-mate.
One of Jenson Button’s best qualifying performances of his career came in 2004 when he hustled his then BAR onto the front-row alongside Renault’s Jarno Trulli who he hustled for second place right up until chequered flag.