PREVIEW Brazilian Grand Prix, 29 - 31 March 2002 Honda's Formula One challenge leaves Asia and moves to South America for the third round of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship at Interlagos, Sao Paolo, on Sunday 31 March. Interlagos,...
PREVIEW Brazilian Grand Prix, 29 - 31 March 2002
Honda's Formula One challenge leaves Asia and moves to South America for the third round of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship at Interlagos, Sao Paolo, on Sunday 31 March.
Interlagos, the second highest circuit on the F1 calendar, represents a unique set of considerations for Honda and its partner teams, Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda and DHL Jordan Honda, and they are all preparing to face the particular demands of the only South American round of the season. The tropical climate can be changeable and the high temperatures of Sao Paulo will put further demands on engine cooling and performance, while the bumpy nature of the Interlagos circuit along with its altitude also pose challenges for the Honda engineers and the Honda-powered drivers.
Honda has a proud history of success in South American Grands Prix, beginning in 1965 when Richie Ginther famously delivered Honda's maiden Formula One victory in Mexico. Honda's first visit to Brazil in 1984 also brought a podium finish, as Keke Rosberg finished second for Williams-Honda in Rio. Two years later, Nelson Piquet registered Honda's first Brazilian success, taking victory in his Williams-Honda ahead of local hero Ayrton Senna. Five years later Senna tasted success in his home Grand Prix, the great Brazilian going on to secure the 1991 World Championship in his Honda-powered McLaren.
While Brazil is an important feature of Honda's Formula One exploits, Honda's presence in the country epitomises the company's global outlook. The company's business in South America originated with the export of motorcycles to Brazil in the late 1960s and has since grown formidably to include all aspects of Honda's activities. Key developments in Honda's South American business have always originated in Brazil, with motorcycle and automobile production started in the early 1970s and 1997 respectively.
Honda's Manaus motorcycle plant in Brazil now produces more than 400,000 motorcycles annually and has contributed to the growth of the overall motorcycle market in South America. Typifying Honda's push for higher environmental standards, the plant acquired ISO 14001 certification, the international standard for environmental management systems, in October 1998.
While maintaining this motorcycle-based business foundation, Honda began marketing automobiles across South America in the 1980s. Mirroring its successful motorcycle business strategy Honda commenced local automobile production in Brazil in 1997.
Honda's power equipment business in South America has rapidly evolved since exports to Peru began in 1966. With a sales network that now encompasses 13 countries across the continent, Honda products such as electric generators and pumps are sold throughout the region. Honda's business includes two R&D offices in Brazil, one for motorcycles and one for automobiles.
Shuhei Nakamoto, Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development:
"We always look forward to Interlagos. Apart from the good memories we have here it is a great circuit and gives our engineers an interesting set of challenges. Our focus this weekend will be to maintain our reliability and help our partner teams get all four Honda-powered cars to the finish, while getting the maximum out of the engine in its current spec."