After encouraging performances in both Australia and Malaysia, Honda's globe-trotting Formula One campaign moves to it is third continent in less than four weeks. This weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix - third round of the 2003 FIA Formula One World...
After encouraging performances in both Australia and Malaysia, Honda's globe-trotting Formula One campaign moves to it is third continent in less than four weeks. This weekend's Brazilian Grand Prix - third round of the 2003 FIA Formula One World Championship - is the only South American date on the current F1 calendar and the race is staged at the historic Interlagos circuit located on the outskirts of Sao Paolo.
Interlagos presents Honda and its partner team Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda with a unique set of technical demands. After the streets of Melbourne and tropical humidity of Sepang, the Brazilian venue serves up its own distinctive challenges. As in Malaysia 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 anti-clockwise track's surface along with Sao Paolo's altitude also pose a stiff examination for the Honda engineers and the Honda-powered drivers.
With pre-race testing not permitted at Interlagos and track time now severely limited during the race weekend, teams are going to face a race against the clock just to find suitable chassis set-ups, engine characteristics and tyre choices for qualifying sessions on Friday and Saturday as well as for the Grand Prix on Sunday. Although it's never quite possible to replicate the inimitable conditions about to be experienced in South America, B*A*R Honda has been preparing for Brazil by staging an exhaustive four-day test at Barcelona in Spain.
Takumo Sato was on hand for the first day of the programme to carry out intensive tyre testing, covering a total of 93 laps and recording a best lap of 1m18.90s. Jenson Button took over on day two of the test and the morning of day three while team-mate Jacques Villeneuve got behind the wheel of the B*A*R Honda 005 for the remainder of the four-day test. Button and Villeneuve continued with tyre evaluations, completing a good number of laps and setting best times of 1m17.34s (day two) and 1m19.24s (day three) respectively.
Honda has strong connections with Brazil both on and off the track. Most famously, perhaps, Sao Paolo born Ayrton Senna won all three of his F1 world championships and 32 of his 41 Grands Prix victories with Honda power. The company and country have more contemporary motor sport links, too. Valentino Rossi, for instance, has won the past two Brazilian Motorcycle GPs while Brazilian driver Tony Kanaan currently leads the Indy Racing League series after scoring Honda's maiden win in the series at Phoenix last week.
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"I'm looking forward to going to Interlagos, having really got the season off to a start by scoring our first points in Malaysia. We will be using the same specification engine in Brazil as we ran in Malaysia so I'm confident that we'll be competitive next weekend."