Honda have denied abandoning the development of this year’s car as Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello continue to struggle with a lack of pace the duo wound up seventeenth and twentieth in morning practice at Silverstone, over two seconds off the pace of the front-runners.
The Brackley-based outfit, who had a torrid run of results last year with the ill-handling RA107, have taken steps forward in performance this year due in part to the arrival of esteemed Technical Director Ross Brawn but their results remain, by their own standards disappointing.
After consistently knocking on the door of the top-ten runners in the early part of the season Honda’s results have tailed off dramatically with both drivers squabbling with the likes of Force India and Toro Rosso.
With Ross Brawn unable to have any major input into the underlying design philosophy of the car until next year, it has been rumoured that the Anglo-Japanese outfit has given up on this year’s challenger, the RA108, focussing their efforts instead on next year’s car to coincide with sweeping technical rule changes.
However Brawn has denied that the team are neglecting the RA108 entirely, although he admits that 2008 is largely about building a baseline for success.
“One advantage we have is we’re not fighting for a championship, and when you are, you have to put a lot of resources into fighting for that championship,” he told the BBC.
“So the top two or three teams for sure are going to have to balance their efforts for this year and next year perhaps more than we will.”
“But (2008) is more about building the team and the structure for the future, creating the systems and the philosophies that we need to succeed in the future.”