The 2004 season finally got underway today as Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's full driver line-up of Jenson Button, Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson ran in the first sessions of this weekend's curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix. Jenson and Takuma...
The 2004 season finally got underway today as Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's full driver line-up of Jenson Button, Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson ran in the first sessions of this weekend's curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix. Jenson and Takuma each completed 21 laps, Jenson posting the 4th fastest time with Takuma 12th. Anthony was the second fastest of the four-strong contingent of third drivers competing in Friday Free Practice for the first time under the new 2004 regulations.
"It's been a very interesting start to the new season. It felt quite strange leaving most of the driving to Anthony, but he's done a great job of obtaining information for myself and Taku for the second session. He's going to play a key role in the way our race weekends shape up this season as Taku and I preserve our engines. We're working really well together, exactly as we do in testing, and there isn't any learning curve for us as a driver line-up, which is going to be a significant advantage. The car feels strong and we have some good tyre options, so I'm feeling positive about the race debut of the 006. The conditions are improving all the time as the circuit cleans up and I'm looking forward to more set-up work tomorrow morning in readiness for what is likely to be a very interesting qualifying session."
"It's great to be back competing in a Grand Prix again but it is quite a challenge to adapt to the new format. I've had very little track time so it is difficult to choose the right tyre in such a short space of time. We're working very well together as a team though and it is encouraging that all three drivers seem to be following the same direction. I'm looking forward to seeing how the rest of the weekend shapes up now."
"I'm very pleased with the way things have gone in my first day of race weekend running with B*A*R. It was fun to see my name up there with all the other drivers and I feel that we have achieved a lot in support of the two race drivers. I'm pretty happy with my times and I have adapted to the track very quickly. All the work I have done over the winter to learn the new circuits certainly seems to have paid off today. Of course, it's great to be here as part of an established driver line-up. It's just like being at a test with them really, so I feel very comfortable. I think the new Friday format will work well and will be a very important part of moving the team forward."
David Richards, Team Principal
"Anthony has done a great job for us today, competing with the team for the first time in race weekend conditions and making a valuable contribution to our overall programme. Our established driver line-up will be a great asset to us under the new format and, although it is still early days, I am sure that the changes introduced for this season will provide added excitement to the weekend. We have made a solid start today and I'm pleased to see the early signs that we should be competitive here. I'm not going to make any predictions though and I look forward to seeing how the new qualifying format unfolds tomorrow."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director
"It has been a very busy Friday, operating three cars in the first day of running under the new weekend format, but generally we are pleased with our performance so far. Anthony was halfway through the tyre programme this afternoon when we had warning of an imminent sensor failure, so we had to stop his running early. However, we have been able to obtain good information from his running. Jenson and Takuma finished their planned programmes, although on his last lap Jenson stopped on the circuit. We have located the source of the problem and we will have a solution for the car for the morning. As expected, track conditions have changed considerably during the day and we are confident that, by tomorrow, our set-up will be very competitive."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development
"Overall we had a good first day of the season, and we are about where we expected to be based on the results of winter testing. Anthony did well, but a problem with his car in the second session meant that we couldn't finish all of the planned programme. Jenson's car also had a problem on its last lap but there is a solution in place for tomorrow. It feels good to be back racing again."
Chassis: B*A*R Honda 006-01
Chassis: B*A*R Honda 006-02
Anthony Davidson - Third Driver
Chassis: B*A*R Honda 006-03
Warm and sunny