FEBRUARY 3, 1997
Loic Bigois on the JS45
ALTHOUGH from the outside the new Ligier-Mugen Honda JS45 might appear to be quite similar to last year's JS43, it is, in fact, a completely new car beneath the surface.
"Our design philosophy for the JS45 was to evolve from last year's JS43 - which was fundamentally a good car. We also had to incorporate changes from the lessons we learned in the course of the season. In addition, of course, we had to adapt the design to take into account the changes in the regulations.
"We have paid particular attention to refining the detail of the aerodynamics to make the car more sensitive to changes in set-up. This was one of the problems we had in the course of last season, although during the recent Jerez testing we found that this was less of a problem when the old car was running with the new Bridgestone tires and with Showa shock absorbers. We began working with Showa at the end of last season and we have already managed to achieve a lot with them."
"We have also done a lot of work on underside aerodynamics, notably the diffuser and the way in which the air flowed around the flat bottom.
"The gearbox is also completely new, although it remains a transverse six-speed unit. We have also done a lot of development with the brakes.
"The shape of the bodywork has also been refined with a lot of work being done in our 40% windtunnel in Magny-Cours. This was refitted in the course of last year with much more accurate measuring systems. I am very happy with the results we have had in the windtunnel.
"I know that all F1 engineers will tell you the same thing at this time of year, but I am honestly extremely satisfied with the results of the windtunnel program. I can see our efforts being rewarded with some top results in 1997."