The back to back races of the Italian and Belgian Grands Prix mean that the B*A*R Honda team will need to put the frustrations of Monza very swiftly behind them and focus on better things to come in Spa this weekend as Formula One prepares for its...
The back to back races of the Italian and Belgian Grands Prix mean that the B*A*R Honda team will need to put the frustrations of Monza very swiftly behind them and focus on better things to come in Spa this weekend as Formula One prepares for its final European race of the 2005 season.
Back at base, B*A*R Honda will be conducting a thorough investigation into the problems which beset a promising race for the team. On a more positive note, the high-speed, low-downforce characteristics of the Monza circuit are a unique feature of the calendar and Spa calls for a higher downforce configuration, which the team tested successfully in Monza recently.
The Spa-Francorchamps circuit features two very long straights that lead into slow corners which, in combination with the unpredictable Ardennes weather, should make for an exciting race.
The cars' chassis set-up involves the all-important compromise between reducing drag to aid straight-line speed and generating downforce to aid cornering. Braking stability is also an important consideration, particularly when slowing down from the flat-out Blanchimont for the 'Bus Stop' chicane.
"I have had mixed fortunes at Spa. For my first race there in a Formula One car back in 2000 I qualified in P3 which was great. Last year we qualified reasonably well, but during the first corner incident at the start of the race I lost my front wing and had to come into the pits. The car was then running well and I was looking good for a podium finish, but then a tyre blew out on the straight and I had quite a big accident."
"However, I am really looking forward to going back there as I think that we should have a car that works well on this type of circuit. It's also nice to go back to Spa because of its history and it's a great drivers' circuit. It has certain types of corner that no other circuit in the world has, so I am looking forward to it and hope that the weather will be good to us this year."
"Spa is well-known as one of everybody's favourite circuits because it is challenging and there are a lot of high-speed, flowing corners. It gives you a fantastic feeling driving around it in a Formula One car. The downforce requirement is a unique one."
"It isn't as low as for Monza and not as high as for other circuits - in fact the wing level is very similar to the one we use in Montreal. We recently completed a successful test using this set-up and so we hope that we have a strong package for the next grand prix."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting director:
"Spa is one of everyone's favourite stops on the F1 circuit as it represents the ultimate test for both team and driver. It is one of the more traditional tracks on the calendar with some of the most challenging corners any driver will experience."
"From a team standpoint, Spa represents an interesting challenge since there is one part of the track that is very handling-oriented, whilst at the same time there is also a strong requirement for straight-line speed. We have some engine and aerodynamic upgrades for this race so hopefully we can look forward to a more competitive weekend."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering director, Honda Racing Development:
"The Spa circuit layout should be more suited to our car than Monza so I am looking forward to being more competitive next weekend. We have a new engine spec to introduce, so I hope it helps us to regain our position of challenging the guys at the front."