Honda confirmed on July 19th that its race driver line up of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will remain unchanged for 2008. Button joined the team in 2003, when it was still BAR, after stints with Williams and Benetton, which became Renault.
Honda confirmed on July 19th that its race driver line up of Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello will remain unchanged for 2008. Button joined the team in 2003, when it was still BAR, after stints with Williams and Benetton, which became Renault. Barrichello made his Honda debut in 2006 and his route was from Jordan initially, then Stewart and, of course, Ferrari. 2008 will be the third successive year that the two will be teammates.
"Although we are still very firmly focused on the current season, I am excited about the opportunity that we have for 2008," said Button, whose best finish so far this season is eighth. "It goes without saying that 2007 has been extremely frustrating but over the past few races we have gradually started to see some improvement."
"We have not had the performance to be competitive this year but what we do have is a very solid team of people which has been boosted recently by some key new appointments. Every team has good times and bad and I am confident that our recent difficulties are now behind us and that next year looks promising."
Honda has had a troublesome season so far, with little in the way of results -- Button's one point in France being the only one -- and changes in the technical and management departments. Sporting director Gil de Ferran recently left and the recruitment of new staff is not yet over. Keeping the same driver pairing is at least one constant in the equation.
Barrichello underlined stability as an important factor for the future. "I am delighted to confirm that I am staying with Honda for 2008," he commented. "When I came here in 2006, it was always my intention to develop a long-term relationship and help build a strong team together. 2007 has been tough so far but I believe we are heading in the right direction again."
"In addition to the great team we have already, there are some good new people coming on board and I have confidence that we will make progress now. Jenson and I have a great relationship together as team-mates and stability will be key as we look forward to the challenge of 2008. For now though, we have eight races remaining and that is where our focus lies."
Honda made no mention of test drivers for next season; official test and third driver Christian Klien recently tried out for Spyker and is considered a favourite for a race seat with the team, while other tester James Rossiter moved to Super Aguri back in May in the same role. Honda has an agreement with GP2 driver Mike Conway and he is expected to test the F1 car later this year.