Back in 2001, Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda scored its first-ever podium finish in the Spanish Grand Prix, a performance it matched only once in the following three seasons. This year, the team arrives in Barcelona with three trophies under its belt ...
Back in 2001, Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda scored its first-ever podium finish in the Spanish Grand Prix, a performance it matched only once in the following three seasons. This year, the team arrives in Barcelona with three trophies under its belt after the first four races, lying equal third in the Constructors' Championship and with lead driver Jenson Button just a point adrift of second in the Drivers' standings.
Last weekend's San Marino Grand Prix was a landmark event in the team's six season history; an inaugural pole position for both the team and Jenson, followed by B*A*R's best-ever race result - a second place podium finish.
The 2.939 mile Circuit de Catalunya is almost a home from home for B*A*R, as the track is one of their primary testing facilities. Indeed, the team has completed in excess of 8,500kms of development work there with the chassis, Honda engine and Michelin tyres during winter testing and the early part of 2004.
This experience, combined with the team's impressive early season performance and a positive pre-Barcelona test in Mugello this week means that the team has an equally ambitious objective for round five - finishing both cars in strong points positions and hopefully adding another trophy to its growing collection.
"Following on from 2nd in Imola, I am confident that we should be very competitive in Spain and, hopefully, even closer to the red cars! We have had very positive tests in Barcelona and the car has shown to be very strong there. The whole team, Honda and Michelin are committed to getting the best results possible. We are pushing hard to maintain our current momentum."
"I enjoy racing in Barcelona. The track is a good challenge, with a lot of emphasis on aerodynamic efficiency. Most of the drivers are familiar with the circuit as we test there quite regularly. Although I did not have the greatest of races in Barcelona last year, I am looking forward to an exciting one this year."
"Barcelona is the circuit where the team has consistently performed well during winter testing, so I am very excited about the race next week. We have had very strong performances during the first four races and with the improvements that have been made to the car during the test at Mugello this week, I am feeling confident that we can achieve a strong result for myself and the team."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"What an incredible start to the season! I genuinely didn't expect us to be in this position after just four races and we have no intention of letting this advantage slip through our fingers. In fact, all this success helps create additional benefits, which strengthen our position. We are finding a huge surge of interest commercially and perhaps the most interesting measure of all is that many of the top drivers would now consider B*A*R an attractive proposition for a future race seat."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"After our strong performance in San Marino last weekend, we are very much looking forward to Barcelona, where we have a great deal of experience with the B*A*R Honda 006 and the Michelin tyres. Despite our familiarity with the Circuit de Catalunya, the Spanish Grand Prix remains a challenging race for both car and driver. Its high-speed corners make it a fairly demanding circuit and it is a good test of the car's stability and aerodynamic performance."
"For this race we have a small step with the engine and a development of the Imola aerodynamic package, so we expect to be able to maintain our current momentum and continue the fight with our competitors. If we are able to extract the true performance of the car, then we can expect another exciting race weekend for the team."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"After such a strong start to the season I'm determined to continue our competitive form and achieve B*A*R Honda's first win as soon as possible. We must, as in Imola, continue to be the best of the Michelin runners, and at the same time reduce the gap to Schumacher and Ferrari. We've enjoyed some productive tests at Barcelona and have got high hopes for the race."