Belgian GP: BAR preview

The Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team heads to Belgium next week for Round 14 of the Formula One World Championship, which takes place at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium. The team delivered another solid two-car points finish at the ...

The Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team heads to Belgium next week for Round 14 of the Formula One World Championship, which takes place at the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium.

The team delivered another solid two-car points finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix, as Jenson Button and his team-mate Takuma Sato brought their B*A*R Honda 006 race cars home fifth and sixth respectively. Just eight points separate B*A*R from second placed Renault. The team now has 83 points whilst Jenson remains third in the Drivers' Championship with 65 points.

The circuit at Spa features two very long straights that lead into slow corners which, in combination with the temperamental Belgian weather, should make for an exciting race. Although changes have been made to the track to comply with modern Formula One requirements, the alterations have been carried out maintaining its original appeal.

The cars' chassis set-up involves the all-important compromise between reducing drag to aid straight-line speed and generating downforce to aid cornering. Braking stability is also an important consideration, particularly when slowing down from flat-out Blanchimont for the 'Bus Stop' chicane, which has been re-profiled again for this year.

Jenson Button:

"I am excited about returning to race at Spa. The circuit has a lot of history and I think it is every Formula One driver's favourite track. It has great high speed corners and a complex of good slow speed corners as well. Although Ferrari has won the constructors, the competition is still strong for the remaining places in the championship. I am looking forward to the race and to hopefully gaining some more all important points for the team."

Takuma Sato:

"I am really looking forward to Spa because it is such a great circuit to drive with a fast car. The track is very dynamic and suits F1 cars perfectly. Also, I have a lot of good memories of Spa from my previous Formula Three races there and it is great to see it back on the F1 calendar. After Hockenheim and Hungary where our pace was back up to where it should be, I am hoping and expecting us to have another strong performance in Spa."

David Richards, Team Principal:

"The team did an excellent job in Hungary two weeks ago in difficult circumstances and demonstrated an incredible level of professionalism. Everyone is very motivated by our strength relative to the immediate competition and with the resumption of testing after Spa, the hard work continues to maintain the momentum we have shown throughout the season. With five races still remaining there is a great deal to play for."

Craig Wilson, Chief Race Engineer:

"After a solid two car points finish in Budapest that saw us make a little more progress relative to our competitors, we return to Spa following its absence from the 2003 calendar. It is one of the last few proper tracks with a good combination of slow, medium and fast corners together with long 'straights' and gradients, requiring a medium downforce set-up and mechanically balancing the cornering grip against accommodating the track undulations."

"The 'Bus-Stop' chicane and pit-lane entry have been re-profiled and parts of the track have been re-surfaced; therefore not all of our data from Spa in 2002 is relevant for our preparation for the race this year. We shall utilise some of the free practice session time to make adjustments to the cars for the revised track and for working towards our race strategy assessment as well as the normal tyre evaluation work for the race."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"We're all really looking forward to racing at Spa again; it's a great circuit and was definitely missed by a lot of people last year. It was encouraging to score another solid two-car points finish at the Hungaroring and we aim to build on that in Spa to keep the pressure on Renault for second place in the championship."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jenson Button , David Richards , Shuhei Nakamoto
Teams Ferrari