The Team Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda have arrived in Brazil for the third of the season-opening flyaways and one of the most established Grands Prix in the Formula One calendar. After two tough races in Australia and Malaysia, the team are looking...
Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda have arrived in Brazil for the third of the season-opening flyaways and one of the most established Grands Prix in the Formula One calendar. After two tough races in Australia and Malaysia, the team are looking to kick-start their season in Sao Paulo and draw a line underneath the reliability issues that have blighted their performance.
The weekend of the Malaysian Grand Prix was fraught with difficulties for the team. Olivier Panis suffered a recurrent clutch problem which eventually brought about his retirement from the race after only 9 laps. Jacques Villeneuve's 8th place finish was scant reward for a hard-fought race.
At the end of the race, Team Principal David Richards reiterated his belief that only radical changes within the team would allow it to achieve its goals. Having made clear his intention to undertake a detailed and extensive review of the team immediately upon his appointment last December, David completed his self-imposed 90-day study and announced a significant restructure last Thursday (21 March). Key personnel changes include the departure of Malcolm Oastler, Engineering Director and Andy Green, Chief Designer.
David Richards paid tribute to the dedication shown by the people who created the team but underlined the fact that the organisation had not delivered the expected results. Technical Director Geoff Willis is now undertaking his own review of the car and the team's technical capability, a process which he expects to complete within the next couple of weeks.
David Richards, Team Principal
"The last week has seen some major changes within B.A.R including a fundamental reorganisation of the team. "We have to balance the necessity to improve performance in the short-term whilst making the changes required to deliver our long-term goals.I am confident that we now have a stable base from which we can start building for the future, but we still have a long way to go."
"This has been a very difficult and disappointing start to the season, but I am confident that the changes mean we will be heading in the right direction, although only time will tell. There is no point in looking back, we now have to look forward and work on improving our car and the whole way we operate. We aren't expecting to see any massive improvements in Brazil but hopefully by Imola the results will start to show. In terms of the race itself, I'm not that fond of Interlagos. The circuit has character but is not high up on my list of favourites. It's a great crowd though - the fans create a really special atmosphere."
"The first two Grands Prix were very difficult but we have to look forward. I feel that my own season hasn't really started yet; I completed only a few hundred metres and then 9 laps in those two races and that's definitely not what I'm here for. David Richards has addressed our problems and the changes made last week were necessary to achieve our short and long-term objectives. I want things to turn around for the team. We had an intensive test in Barcelona last week and everyone was very focused. Now we have to wait and see how things go for us in Brazil."
"Interlagos brings me a lot of good memories and I like to race here. It's very challenging because we drive anti-clockwise and the circuit is incredibly bumpy, which makes it very physical with the heat aswell. It's a good track for overtaking too, particularly if you are right behind someone at the end of the straight. I hope we get the chance to take advantage of that."
Race Distance - 71 Laps. 190.067 miles/305.909 km
Circuit Length - 2.677 miles/4.309km
Race Start - 14.00 local time (18.00BST)
The anti-clockwise Autodromo Jose Carlos Pace was built in a natural bowl that has gradually been absorbed by the sprawling city of Sao Paulo. Notable for its difficult corners and tight infield section, it is also a very bumpy circuit, despite regular re-laying of the racing surface. Therefore, chassis set-up priorities are to ensure the car rides well, and has high levels of grip in the corners with as little downforce as possible, so straight-line speed remains high.
The weather around Sao Paulo can be hot and humid and there is the ever-present possibility of a torrential downpour, but the abrasive tarmac surface tends to dry quickly as soon as the rain stops. The original track, first used in 1940, twisted around itself between two lakes, hence the name Interlagos. The new shorter version misses out much of the old track, but maintains the track's stand-out feature - a steep start-line straight.