Enrique Bernoldi will be back at the wheel of a Formula One car next month when he takes part in the first of two tests for the Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team. Enrique Bernoldi. Photo by Dave Dyer. The long-haul locations of the last...
Enrique Bernoldi will be back at the wheel of a Formula One car next month when he takes part in the first of two tests for the Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team.
The long-haul locations of the last three races in China, Japan and Brazil make it very difficult for B*A*R race drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato to test in Europe, but the two tests which fall in between these races will be crucial in helping B*A*R to maintain its current competitiveness and championship position.
The team is now clear third in the Constructors' Championship, just eight points behind second-placed Renault. With five races remaining there is still everything to play for. The requirement for this testing role was therefore solid F1 experience and B*A*R feel that the 25-year-old Brazilian has all the right credentials. Enrique will test alongside Anthony Davidson in Jerez in September and October, and the team has also agreed an option on Bernoldi's services as a test driver going forward.
Enrique joined the OrangeArrows F1 team in 2001 and went on to out-qualify his considerably more experienced team mate in 10 of the 17 races that season. He was retained in 2002 but his F1 career was cut short when the team went into receivership at the end of that season. Since that time Enrique has remained at the sharp end of the competition in the Superfund World Series by Nissan Championship, in which he currently lies second in the drivers' standings.
Enrique visited B*A*R's Operations Centre in Brackley, UK, last week for a seat fitting and to meet the team's senior technical personnel and race engineers.
B*A*R Technical Director Geoffrey Willis commented: "We are delighted to welcome Enrique to the team for this brief but crucial period in our testing programme. He has 28 F1 race starts to his name and possesses the solid F1 experience that will help us to achieve as much continuity as possible in the latter part of the season."
"The end of the five-week testing ban means that all of the teams will now be ramping up their efforts to fight for every available opportunity for points and championship position. We are no exception in this and so Enrique will have a couple of very busy tests for us."
Enrique is thrilled at the opportunity to join B*A*R's test programme. He commented: "This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I cannot wait to drive the car. When I had to leave F1 two years ago because of the Arrows situation, I was only 23 years old and still had a lot to prove."
"My future looked very difficult but we decided that the best thing to do was to stay in single seaters in order to maintain the racing acuity, which is why I am competing in the very competitive World Series. I had a difficult first year as the team was new but I was pleased to achieve some poles and podiums. The team is now efficient and as a result, I am standing second in the Championship, with first place in my sights."
"Hearing the news about the opportunity to help B*A*R with their development programme was something else! I visited B*A*R factory a few days ago for a seat fitting and to meet the engineers. Sitting in the car was a very special moment. The facilities at Brackley are very impressive and the people very welcoming."
"After a day there, I understood why B*A*R have become one of the top teams this season. I understand I have a very important job to do to help the team for the rest of the season and I would like to thank B*A*R, Lucky Strike and Honda for the opportunity and trust they have placed in me."