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Honda’s RA107

Having made a wild prediction that Jenson Button will be champion in 2007, naturally I have been awaiting the unveiling of Honda’s new car with some interest. The launch has been quite low key and optimism reined in so that we are not led to expect miracles. I like that – we’ll see soon enough in the races just how good the car is.

RA107

Barrichello in the Honda RA107

The car is still in its interim black livery, the new colors not to be revealed until next month, and this makes it difficult to see what changes have been made. But it is performing well enough in early testing, apart from stopping on Button’s first lap in it. That is what testing is all about, after all – identifying any problems now rather than in the races. Both drivers seem very happy with it and Barrichello especially is sounding confident.

This realistic but determined attitude seems to run throughout the team. After the disappointments of last year and then the flourish at the end, no doubt they have learned their lesson and are not going to set themselves unattainable goals this time. Maybe it’s my hope that they can upset the old order (which has been unassailable for a while now) but I think we will see Button leading quite a few races this year. Even Flavio Briatore added Honda as an afterthought to his list of most likely winners.

Speaking of Flavio, I see he’s been having a go at Ron Dennis again, mocking McLaren’s takeover of Valencia for the launch of the MP4-22. And he’s right, of course – no matter how much of an extravaganza you put on for the launch, all that really matters is how well the car performs in the races.

On that basis, Honda’s launch was just right – never mind the hype, we’re here to do the business.

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