Following the team's biggest-ever points haul in a single race at last weekend's Italian Grand Prix, Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda now lies second in the Constructors' Championship as the team heads to Shanghai for the inaugural Grand Prix of ...
Following the team's biggest-ever points haul in a single race at last weekend's Italian Grand Prix, Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda now lies second in the Constructors' Championship as the team heads to Shanghai for the inaugural Grand Prix of China.
Since the first artist's impressions of the brand-new Shanghai International Circuit were released, the entire Formula One fraternity has been waiting with bated breath for this much-celebrated addition to the Grand Prix calendar. The drivers who visited the track as it neared completion were left awestruck by this state-of-the-art facility, with its spectacular architecture and challenging circuit layout.
B.A.R's Jenson Button and third driver Anthony Davidson were no exception when they visited Shanghai last month. Jenson even got a chance to sample parts of the new circuit in a Honda Accord road car.
A new race always presents a significant challenge. There is no prior knowledge of the track characteristics and no telemetry data to aid set-up. The teams will therefore be reliant upon sophisticated simulation techniques and an emphasis on circuit familiarisation during next Friday's opening free practice session.
Nonetheless, B.A.R is encouraged by its form in the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix earlier in the year, when the team responded to the challenge with a podium finish - a target it will be looking to replicate next Sunday in Shanghai.
"I am looking forward to Shanghai as obviously it is a very special circuit. The commitment that has been put into building the new facilities, and also the circuit layout, are exceptional. I think the whole of Formula One is looking forward to racing there. I think that it is going to be a pretty high downforce circuit and that it will be physically very tough due to some extremely long corners, for example Turn One, and also the corner off the back straight. It should make for good racing as there should be some very good overtaking opportunities, which of course is important for Shanghai and Formula One."
"I think that this year is a very exciting season for Formula One because we have two new races - in Bahrain and China. Having experienced the new GP in Bahrain, which was very exciting, I know that I will have the same feelings about the race in Shanghai. Being Japanese, China is physically very close to my home and to be able to participate in another GP in Asia is a great opportunity for everyone. I have visited the city of Shanghai but have not been to the circuit, so I am very interested to see the track and its facilities."
"I have heard some extremely positive feedback about the track, that it will be exciting and physically challenging. It is especially important for me personally as it is just before my home GP in Suzuka. I am really looking forward to driving there for the first time next week and hope that we can keep up the momentum from our team result in Monza."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"The whole team is very excited about next weekend's inaugural Chinese Grand Prix. Jenson has already had a taste of driving parts of the new circuit in a road car but all three drivers are looking forward to unleashing their racecars at what is without doubt a phenomenal new facility."
"A new circuit represents a substantial but exciting challenge and one which the team faced earlier in the year in Bahrain. We left there with a podium finish and that is our clear objective for next weekend. Having moved ahead of Renault to take second place in the Constructors' Championship, the remaining three races will present a fierce challenge between us for that final runner-up position."
Geoffrey Willis, Team Technical Director:
"After a successful race at Monza, we are now focused on trying to maintain our second place in the Championship. As we are going to a brand new circuit, we will be relying on our simulation tools to help us prepare the car as close to our final set-up before we run next Friday. We have shown earlier in the year that the team is good at finding a competitive set-up at a brand new circuit, so we are looking forward to the challenge."
"The main track feature that stands out in Shanghai is the length of the corners, particularly Turn 1 where the drivers will see over 2G for nearly 4 seconds. In terms of corner and braking characteristics, the circuit is quite similar to the Nurburgring, but with a very long back straight, and it looks as though it will be tough on engines. We expect to be competitive in Shanghai with some new aero parts and engine developments, but we know that we will have to work hard to keep second place in the Championship for the last three races."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"We are all looking forward to the first Chinese Grand Prix. The circuit looks to have a good mix of different speed corners and we hear the facilities are excellent. Just like in Bahrain, the fact that it is a new circuit means all the teams are starting with a clean sheet of paper and after a productive test at Silverstone we are aiming for an even better result than our third place in Bahrain."