Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda launched their 2002 season challenger today with a dramatic new line-up, but it was Honda's announcement of a long-term commitment to the team that really stole the show.
Honda took this opportunity to announce that it has reached agreement for a new three year partnership with the team. In practical terms that means Honda is stepping up its involvement in the chassis programme and clearly focusing its resources on Formula One to underline its determination to win the World Championship.
The team always said that 2002 would have to be a completely fresh start, and while the team have an all-new car in the shape of the Malcolm Oastler designed BAR004, this is really only the tip of the iceberg. Honda have designed a completely new engine - the RA002E - with improvements in both power and packaging.
More good news emerged in the form of an additional commitment from technical partner Bridgestone. The Japanese tyre giant announced that it has also laid the foundations for a long-term partnership with British American Racing.
Following the departure of Craig Pollock, the team revealed that David Richards will take over the reins as Team Principal Designate with immediate effect. He joined 200 of the staff members on stage to outline the many positive news stories emerging from the launch.
Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda put aside the uncertainty of the last 24 hours to stand shoulder to shoulder for the launch of the team's 2002 challenger. The team has met all of its ambitious targets with the delivery of the BAR004 and proudly took centrestage in a rock-solid display of team unity.
Once the dust settles on a brief period of upheaval, the team fully expects to see the re-emergence of the gritty determination and single-mindedness borne out of the 2001 reality check.
Mr Ogawa, Honda's Head of Racing Technology Development, commented:
"We would like to thank Craig Pollock for all his support and effort over the past two years. We also wish David Richards every success in his new position. For 2002 we introduce a brand new engine -- the RA002E -- and on the chassis side we are strengthening our commitment with our new long-term agreement with B.A.R."
Team Principal Designate David Richards said: "With today's announcements B.A.R can move forward with a secure future based on strong partnerships. For my part I will be carefully assessing the situation over the next month before making any necessary changes."