GP2: Mike Conway impresses at Honda
By LJ Hutchins
Friday, November 16th, 2007
Mike Conway is due to get another crack at driving a Formula One car after impressing Honda’s sporting director Ron Meadows at a recent outing at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona.
He has been told, along with the other young drivers testing for the team, that he can expect a recall for the next session planned for Jerez in December.
The SuperNova driver was on the track alongside series colleagues Andreas Zuber and Luca Filippi as part of Honda’s young driver development programme.
According to the GP2 series website, each driver had the opportunity to drive the Honda race car for one day as the team took a closer look at their potential to assist with future testing requirements.
On the first day of testing Zuber completed 77 laps over the course of the day, his first experience of a Formula One car.
Filippi took over the car on Wednesday for his first full F1 test after a brief session with Minardi in 2005, completing 72 laps.
Conway had his opportunity in the car on Thursday. The driver has been part of the Honda Young Driver Programme since March 2007 and has previously assisted the team with straight-line aerodynamic testing.
After a very cold start to the morning, he worked through the planned programme and completed 72 laps of running on a day much interrupted by circuit red lights.
After completing his laps he said: “I had a really good day today. I settled into the car quickly and felt comfortable with the seat and the positioning which was good as it enabled us to concentrate on finding time right from the start.
“I felt that we were able to make progress throughout the day and found some good time when we ran with new tyres. I would like to say a big thank you to everyone at Honda for a great day and I hope there is more to come in the future.”
His wish is likely to come true, according to Meadows, who said: “We have been very impressed with Andi, Luca and Mike this week. Their enthusiasm and willingness to learn should be commended, as should their performance on track.
“It is never easy for a young driver when sharing a test session with established Formula One names but they have coped extremely well with what must be a daunting experience. The engineers report that their feedback is excellent which shows what a good series GP2 is as a proving ground for Formula One.
“Based on the performance of all three drivers in Barcelona this week, we intend to run Andi, Luca and Mike again at the Jerez test in December to give them a further opportunity in the car and enable us to continue to evaluate their performance and development.”
Session stats from Honda (all timings are unofficial):
Andreas Zuber – 77 laps, 01:24.065
Luca Filippi – 72 laps, 01:23.753
Mike Conway – 72 laps, 01:23.729