Confidence is high as Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda undertakes final preparation for the 2005 Formula One season - with the season opener, the Australian GP, taking place in Melbourne next weekend on 6th March.
B·A·R Honda is more determined than ever to pursue its goal of winning the FIA Formula One World Championship, with Honda now an equity partner in the team, as well as engine supplier, chassis development partner and major sponsor.
Both Jenson Button and Takuma Sato have a lot to prove and are keen to resume action where they left off last year, with B·A·R Honda indisputably the most improved team of 2004.
Jenson, in particular, is fired up and raring to go: "Winter testing has been very encouraging and I have done more mileage in this testing period than ever before. The car has shown good reliability, as has the engine, which is very important considering the new engine regulations whereby one engine must last for two races. I am hoping - as is the team - that our first win is just around the corner."
Sato too is upbeat about the team’s prospects and relishes the challenge ahead. "I am going into my second season here with more experience, confidence and team stability. Obviously I want to push myself even harder to try and improve on my podium finish last year and my ultimate goal must be to challenge for more podiums and eventually to achieve my first win."
B·A·R Honda unveiled its new car - the B·A·R Honda 007 - back in January and has now completed its winter test programme. The car marks the start of a new era for the team and is yet another major performance step, one which Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer of B·A·R Honda predicts will launch B·A·R Honda into a new era and its three year challenge to win the World Championship by 2007.
A significant evolution of last year’s design, the 007 demonstrates a further improvement in design and build-quality. The new car is visibly smaller and its more unified development and integration with the engine has resulted in a tighter, more refined packaging and considerable weight saving despite the more onerous 2005 structural and crash test requirements.
Honda has produced a new engine to meet the challenge of the two-race rule introduced for the first time this season. Although similar in concept to the 2004 unit, it too is a completely revised design but is smaller, lighter and affords a lower centre of gravity.
Geoffrey Willis, the team’s Technical Director says that one of the most challenging aspects was to take into account this year’s new F1 Technical Regulations, especially with regard to aerodynamics and engine. "We are encouraged by what we have seen of our performance step so far but, as is always the case, we look forward to our real measure of success - next weekend’s Australian Grand Prix!" he says.
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