British GP: BAR preview

The Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team is back on home turf for round 11 of the 2003 Formula One World Championship. The British Grand Prix takes place at Silverstone, the home of British motorsport, located less than 10 miles from the team's...

The Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team is back on home turf for round 11 of the 2003 Formula One World Championship. The British Grand Prix takes place at Silverstone, the home of British motorsport, located less than 10 miles from the team's Operations Centre in Brackley, Northamptonshire.

Last year, B*A*R enjoyed a home race to remember here when some excellent tactical calls enabled Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis to take the chequered flag in fourth and fifth places respectively. Back then, this race marked a reversal of B*A*R's fortunes as the team secured its first points-finish of the year. 12 months on, the tally stands at 13 points and the focus is on trying to rediscover the form demonstrated by the team earlier in the season.

Next weekend, B*A*R introduces a significant upgrade to its package, comprising aerodynamic, engine and mechanical developments. Much of the tyre testing work for this race was conducted when the team tested at Silverstone last month, but the team have spent the past week at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, putting the upgrade elements through an intensive three-day, three-car and four-driver test and selecting the final Bridgestone tyre compounds and constructions. The team are optimistic that this revised package will help it to rediscover the level of car performance displayed in Austria and Monaco.

The Great British weather always poses the biggest challenge of the grand prix weekend. Last year the team played the rain clouds to perfection and secured a strong performance to reward the tremendous efforts of its team members and the support of its many fans. Once again, practically the whole factory will be heading to Silverstone next weekend hoping to celebrate another points finish for both cars.

Jacques Villeneuve:

"I have good memories of winning the British Grand Prix in 1996 and 1997, so I know what a great feeling it is to do well in your team's home race. 2003 has been a tough season so far, so it would be nice to get a good result for the team."

"I enjoy racing at Silverstone. Although there aren't many overtaking opportunities, the track is fun to drive. When we tested at Silverstone not so long ago, we didn't have a great test, but having said that our test in Barcelona last week went a lot better than when we were there for the race weekend, so I am optimistic and really looking forward to it."

Jenson Button:

"Every driver wants to do well in their home Grand Prix and racing at Silverstone for a British team is a great feeling. Finishing fifth there in my first season was awesome; when you take the chequered flag and see all those Union Jacks waving at you from the grandstands, it really is spine-tingling. Silverstone is on B*A*R's doorstep and practically the whole team will be turning out to watch this race. It will be great to feel them willing us on and I hope we can reward all their hard work with a good result."

"Silverstone is one of the most demanding circuits that we race at and there are some really fun sections, such as Becketts, where you're absolutely flat out in seventh gear; and Stowe, where you're braking and turning in at the same time, which is quite exciting. This is definitely one of my favourite tracks."

"We've had a positive test in Barcelona this week and it looks like we've made a good step forward with the developments we are introducing at Silverstone."

David Richards, Team Principal:

"The British Grand Prix is always a landmark race for B*A*R. First and foremost, this is our home Grand Prix, so it creates a great deal of expectation within the team and amongst the media, our partners and fans. Silverstone also falls soon after the mid- point of the season, which is when we take stock of our performance and begin to implement our most substantial development upgrades. This year is no exception and we go to our home circuit with a new aerodynamics package and a significant new engine development. Consequently, we expect to see a step up in performance and, after some difficult times in the last three or four races, I hope that we can regain some of the form we demonstrated earlier in the season.

"Last year's race was a great occasion for the team. We achieved our best overall team performance to date and it was a fantastic reward for the hard work that had gone into starting to reverse the team's fortunes. Those efforts have continued unabated and our objective for the weekend is to deliver a strong points-finish for both cars."

Geoff Willis, technical director:

"Silverstone is a track that B*A*R has plenty of experience with, despite having tested there only once this year. The circuit has seen many changes over the years and, although it is not as fast as it once was, it remains a demanding circuit. Silverstone calls for relatively high levels of downforce, despite some very fast sections such as at the beginning of the lap through Copse and Becketts and the Hangar Straight and Bridge towards the end of the lap. It places a premium on aerodynamic efficiency and the car requires good crosswind sensitivity, as the exposed nature of the circuit means winds can severely affect lap times. In addition to this, we need good traction and mechanical grip through the complex at the end of the lap."

"We will introduce a substantial chassis and engine upgrade for this race, featuring a number of new elements. The car will look very different, with its new bodywork and roll-hoop, whilst under the skin there have been further engine and mechanical developments. We regard this as a good step forward and we anticipate a more positive weekend than we have experienced of late."

"As always, the notoriously unpredictable British weather will add a further dimension but we rose to that challenge last year and a wet weekend will certainly be to our advantage."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"We always enjoy competing on home ground and it'll be great to race in front of the local fans and many of our staff. We had an encouraging test with the new spec engine at Barcelona this week, so I'm looking forward to seeing our guys out on track at Silverstone."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , Geoff Willis , David Richards , Shuhei Nakamoto