BAR has certainly had a promising start to 2004 but is it too soon for the team to be thinking of taking the second slot in the constructors' championship at the end of the season? Not according to technical director Geoff Willis, who believes...
BAR has certainly had a promising start to 2004 but is it too soon for the team to be thinking of taking the second slot in the constructors' championship at the end of the season? Not according to technical director Geoff Willis, who believes that aim is a practical one. Williams and Renault are surely gunning for the same thing, and even McLaren can't be counted out, but at the moment it's BAR that is challenging Ferrari.
After Jenson Button's three consecutive podium finishes and maiden pole position in San Marino, the next step is a victory. "I think that winning one or two races is a realistic position," Willis told BBC Radio. "And it is practical to set the target of finishing second in the constructors' championship."
Button's first pole was a notable achievement at a time when Ferrari was seemingly unassailable -- it was the first occasion this season that Michael Schumacher was not on the first slot of the grid. While the reigning champion proved his mettle in the race, Button's second place at Imola was another important success for BAR.
"I think he is raising his level of performance with every race, I think he's always had this level of talent," Willis praised Button, and also the efforts of the whole team. "The team have improved almost an unimaginable amount. We've been very quick consistently in testing. I think car, engine, tyre and driver package at BAR are very strong."
The next race, the Spanish Grand Prix, should be one where BAR can again put up a strong challenge. "We have been quick every time in Barcelona. This should be one of our very strong races," Willis commented. "It's where we have been very competitive."
Despite this confidence BAR is still not 100 per cent; it's early days yet and Willis admits the team is not on a par with some rivals. "We do not have the experience of the top teams at this level," he conceded. "We will make a mistake that other teams won't make."
With the efforts of Button and teammate Takuma Sato, BAR is currently third in the constructors' championship, tied on points with Williams.