The Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team today secured the coveted runner-up prize in the FIA Formula One World Championship after the 2004 season finale in Interlagos. The race result itself fell short of the team's expectations after Jenson Button ...
The Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team today secured the coveted runner-up prize in the FIA Formula One World Championship after the 2004 season finale in Interlagos. The race result itself fell short of the team's expectations after Jenson Button retired with engine failure after just three laps, however Takuma Sato delivered a solid performance to finish 6th, ensuring that 2nd place in the Constructors' Championship belonged to B*A*R.
Taku's three-point score brings B*A*R's season tally to 119, which is 14 points ahead of its closest rival Renault. Although the team had been hoping for another top three result to round off an exceptional year, B*A*R's podium tally still stands at an impressive 11, comprising of four 2nd places and seven 3rd places.
"It was a really hard race today. The start was tricky for everyone because of the shower just before the start. The circuit was actually quite damp but some of the drivers had chosen to start on dry tyres. We chose to run on wet tyres, but as I was originally on a two-stop strategy, I lost quite a bit of time when I had to come in to change to dry tyres. After my last stop, I had a great battle with three other cars."
"Even though we were quicker than them in the infield section, we struggled on the straights so I wasn't able to get close enough to outbrake anyone into turn one, which was a little bit frustrating. Nevertheless, we have finished second in the Championship, which is excellent, and the entire team has done a fantastic job."
"I would also like to thank our partners Lucky Strike, Honda and Michelin for their efforts. I look forward to carrying this great feeling and momentum through to winter testing and I am sure that we can challenge for another great season next year."
"It's disappointing to retire from the last race of the year. We were optimistic of achieving another podium here today which would have been a nice way to see out the season. From the first red light on the start I knew I had some kind of problem and there was a lot of smoke and fire as I left the grid. I was able to continue for a while and had hoped that the problem would go away, but the damage had been done by that time and I had no option but to retire."
"That disappointment aside though, we have to look at the bigger picture which is that we have pulled off second in the championship - an incredible achievement for everyone in the team. Third place in the drivers' championship with 10 podiums is also a pretty special way for me to end the season. I'd like to thank each and every member of the team for their hard work and support this year and they deserve the celebrations that will be taking place here in Brazil and back at the factory this evening."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"Today we can celebrate B.A.R's fantastic season and securing second place in the Championship. In itself the race was rather disappointing, but we came here with the primary goal of containing any threat from Renault, and we achieved it. At the start of the year we set ourselves the objective of challenging the top three teams, and I think that now we have earned our place alongside the established elite."
"Jenson, Taku and Anthony have performed brilliantly all year, and 3rd and 8th in the Drivers' Championship is just reward. Our achievement is the result of incredible hard work and dedication from so many people all around the world, and I would like to thank them for all their efforts. We are still a young team and learning all the time, and with our experienced partners at Honda and Michelin, and the support of BAT, we are firmly set on our path to the top."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"Today's result was not quite the finish we wanted for the season but after a rather nerve-wracking race we were happy to keep our championship position. It was a very close decision on the grid whether to put one or both cars on to dry tyres but we correctly started both cars on wet tyres."
"Jenson had a problem immediately before the lights changed when there was a fire in the engine area and then the problem caused the engine to overheat. Despite passing two cars on his first lap to 3rd place by the end of the lap, his race was about to end. Although the temperatures stabilised quickly the damage was done and he had to retire on lap four."
"With one car out it was very important for Takuma to finish in the points and after the early stop to switch to dry tyres he drove a solid race. The last pitstop went very well allowing him out into 5th place. This left him battling hard to pass Alonso for many laps until a small error dropped him a place to finish 6th, nevertheless guaranteeing our 2nd place in the championship."
"The team has earned this 2nd place by being consistently competitive at every race this year. The performance of the car this year reflects the skill, determination and commitment of everyone at B*A*R, Honda and Michelin. We now look forward to working with our partners over the winter period to prepare for the even harder challenge of the new season."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"2nd in the World Championship is a fantastic result for all of us at B*A*R Honda. On the race team we have the chance of experiencing all the action live and have enjoyed celebrating the many podiums we have taken this season, but today I want to thank everyone at Tochigi, HRD and of course B*A*R for all their efforts - our success at the track is only possible because of their hard work."
"It was a good drive by Taku today to secure the final championship points we needed but unfortunately we let Jenson down with an engine failure. Overall we will take motivation from our World Championship result and try to push our rivals even harder next year."
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-06
Fastest lap time: 1:11.941
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-05
Position: DNF (3 laps)