Australian GP: BAR Saturday qualifying notes

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato were disappointed to end today's first qualifying session 8th and 19th respectively, as changeable weather conditions only added to the unpredictability of Formula One's new for 2005...

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato were disappointed to end today's first qualifying session 8th and 19th respectively, as changeable weather conditions only added to the unpredictability of Formula One's new for 2005 qualifying format.

The team's progress in this morning's free practice sessions was beset by rain showers and although the sunshine put in a brief appearance for the start of qualifying, the looming rain clouds continued to plague the session with intermittent downpours.

B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button left the pit lane fifth in line for his flying lap; the order of the session determined by driver placings in the 2004 Brazilian Grand Prix. He controlled the car well in the damp to drying conditions, benefiting from an improved set-up after problems during the morning's running.

Team-mate Takuma Sato was less fortunate and fell victim to the next downpour, which began just as he left the garage on intermediate tyres. Such is the importance of first qualifying under the new aggregated system that Taku was forced to keep pushing, but as the track became increasingly perilous during his out-lap, the car aquaplaned and hit the wall at turn eight.

Jenson Button:

"The weather conditions haven't exactly given us the best start to the first qualifying session of the season. Judging by the way the weather turned again after my run I was luckier than I thought I would be. The car was very bad this morning when the track was damp and we were off the pace."

"We changed the rear-end for qualifying and it was a big improvement. The weather has thrown things slightly for us but at least we know we are heading in the right direction again. I won't make any predictions for tomorrow though because I'd say today has left everything wide open."

Takuma Sato:

"It's been a very mixed day for us. The car stopped at the end of free practice with an electrical problem and the wet weather didn't help our progress. The track started to dry again early in the qualifying session but when it was time for me to leave the garage the rain started again and was very heavy."

"With intermediate tyres it was impossible to drive the car in those conditions. I tried my best in very difficult circumstances but there was nothing I could do. All I can do now is try my hardest from the back of the grid for the race on Sunday."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical director:

"In variable track conditions, this afternoon's qualifying was always going to be quite a lottery. With the track starting damp, Jenson's early position in the qualifying order put him at quite a disadvantage. Despite a good lap on wet tyres it dried very quickly and he was pushed down to eighth position."

"Just as the circuit had dried enough for several runners to use dry tyres, a heavy rain shower interrupted the running and no-one else was able to improve, fortunately leaving Jenson in a reasonable position for tomorrow's qualifying. However given the large time gaps between the positions, the new aggregate qualifying format it is unlikely to lead to substantial changes for tomorrow's race."

"Although today's running was difficult due to the mixed weather conditions and some car problems, we were fairly happy with our pace at the end of the morning and will now focus on our strategy for tomorrow's race."

"Takuma then followed out shortly after the start of the heavy rain on intermediate tyres, but with the car aquaplaning right from the pit exit he crashed at turn eight on his out lap. We will have to see from the level of damage whether we will repair his race car in time for tomorrow or use the T-car."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering director, Honda Racing Development:

"Taku obviously had no luck today - the weather in qualifying and he had an electrical problem in Free practice. Jenson didn't have much luck either. Having said that we have concentrated up to now on the most important part of the weekend, the race. So let's see what we can do tomorrow."

Jenson Button
Chassis: BAR-Honda 007-04
8th, 1:41.512

Takuma Sato
Chassis: BAR-Honda 007-02
19th, no time

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jenson Button , Shuhei Nakamoto