Monaco GP: Honda preview

Honda F1 @Monaco Grand Prix, 23 -- 26 May 2002 Following an eventful and emotional race in Austria, where Honda scored its first points of the season and saw one of its drivers make a miraculous escape from a serious accident, Honda and its ...

Honda F1 @Monaco Grand Prix, 23 -- 26 May 2002

Following an eventful and emotional race in Austria, where Honda scored its first points of the season and saw one of its drivers make a miraculous escape from a serious accident, Honda and its partner teams, DHL Jordan Honda and Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda, arrive in Monte Carlo for the seventh round of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship.

Everyone was relieved to hear that Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato was released from Graz's University Hospital on Monday (13 May) with no broken bones or injuries, having been flown to the nearby hospital for observation and precautionary checks. The 25 year old Japanese driver returned to England the same day and has spent time resting in preparation for his first visit to the Monaco Grand Prix. By the time the Formula One teams start to arrive in the principality, Sato will already have raced around the Monaco circuit in a Lotus 49B, as he is taking part in the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique on Sunday 19 May.

Both Honda partner teams will arrive in Monaco on the back of testing programmes in Valencia and Jerez, where they have been testing aerodynamics and replicating the demands likely to be placed on the engine at the twisty, narrow Monaco street circuit. Giancarlo Fisichella piloted the Jordan Honda for its two-day test in Valencia while race driver Jacques Villeneuve and test driver Anthony Davidson were on duty for B.A.R Honda for the first two days of its four-day test in Valencia. Olivier Panis completed the final two days of the test while Davidson left Valencia and travelled down to Jerez to start a two-day test for B.A.R Honda on Thursday (16 May).

The Monaco Grand Prix also sees the continuation of Honda's annual rotation of technical personnel on its Formula One programme. The process, which began at the Spanish Grand Prix, is unique to the Japanese manufacturer and an inseparable element of its participation at the pinnacle of global motorsport. By the Canadian Grand Prix, around 30 new Honda engineers and technicians will have joined B.A.R Honda and Jordan Honda; approximately 20 people on the race teams and 10 on the test teams. By rotating its Formula One personnel on an annual basis, Honda aims to expose as many young engineers as possible to the challenging, high-pressure environment of F1. The young engineers are instilled with Honda's fighting spirit and when they return to Japan this invaluable experience and desire to beat the competition is transferred to their work on general production projects.

With six Honda victories in the principality, Monaco shares with Monza the privilege of being the most successful circuit of Honda's distinguished F1 pedigree. 1987 marked the start of Honda's domination of the most glamorous event in world motorsport, the late Ayrton Senna winning no fewer than five Monaco Grands Prix with Honda power between 1987 and 1992. Senna won the race four times with McLaren-Honda but on the first occasion it was a Lotus-Honda in which he took the flag, 30 seconds ahead of Nelson Piquet's Williams for a Honda-powered 1-2. Senna's run of success was punctuated only by the victory of McLaren-Honda team mate Alain Prost in 1988.

Shuhei Nakamoto -- Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development
"I was very relieved to hear that Takuma is okay and didn't suffer any serious injuries. I'm looking forward to welcoming the new engineers and technicians who'll be joining Honda and its partner teams in Monaco, and I'm sure they'll do a great job. Everybody knows that Monaco isn't really a power circuit, but driveability and fuel efficiency will be key for achieving the results we want. We'll need to make changes to the engine mapping and we'll be working as hard as we can to get as much out of the engine as possible throughout the rev range."

-honda-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , Anthony Davidson , Alain Prost , Ayrton Senna , Nelson Piquet , Shuhei Nakamoto
Teams McLaren , Williams , Jordan