BAR Honda launched its 2005 championship contender, the "007", at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday. Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer, took the opportunity to declare the team's objective of winning the World Championship by...
BAR Honda launched its 2005 championship contender, the "007", at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain on Sunday. Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer, took the opportunity to declare the team's objective of winning the World Championship by 2007 and, most importantly, winning a race in 2005.
Hundreds of media and invited guests gathered in front of the BAR garage -- decorated with livery for the event -- and shortly before midday (local time) the garage door opened and Jenson Button, at the wheel of the 007, drove into the pitlane. He stopped briefly for photos before doing a race-style start and a short demonstration run of a single flying lap around the circuit, stopping briefly to do a start on the grid at the end of his first tour.
The event was broadcast live to visitors attending the Autosport International exhibition in Birmingham, England, and also to BAR employees who had gathered at the team's factory in Brackley, England.
During the subsequent press conference Fry, along with Geoff Willis, Technical Director, and others talked about the changes made and the continuity brought forward into the 2005 season. "Barring the steering wheel, the throttle pedal and the break pedal, it's all new," said Fry. "We are really coming out fighting."
Willis went into more details about the changes: "The engine is quite a lot smaller. Quite a lot of the changes have been driven by the changes in regulations. The 007 is an evolution of the very successful 2004 car. We reviewed where our strengths and weaknesses were and what we needed to do for 2005. We dug down into everything and decided we needed a brand new chassis, brand new engine, brand new transmission, we've taken out a lot of weight, there's a lot of new technology in there and it is very much better integrated - showing the year-by-year improvement between the chassis engineers."
Despite the need for large changes that were enforced by the late changes to the regulations, described by Willis as "very challenging and probably the biggest set of changes we've seen for a decade", the steps needed for stability and progression of past work were described. Key Honda personnel are moving to Brackley, and the presence of two Blue Chip partners - British American Tobacco and the Honda Motor Company -- will bring stability. Fry also described the various "commercial successes" over the winter by listing the new sponsors who will bring support to the team.
Despite the stability Jenson Button acknowleged the scale of the task facing the team over the next couple of months: "I'm not a very patient person but there's a lot of testing to do before we arrive at the first race, a lot of work to be done and a lot of improvements to be made before we arrive in Melbourne. We're here to challenge Ferrari for race wins and to do that we need to give everything. When we arrive in Melbourne we will be ready."
BAR Honda presented itself as a team now in a position it has been striving for, with solid backing, stability, integration, and a clear vision for the future with several ambitious, but serious, objectives. Also, an aggressive car design and early launch underline their determination. A season without a win will now be regarded as a failure by the team from Brackley and, with Honda now committed with their carefully chosen minority shareholding, success is expected in 2005.