The Canadian Grand Prix sees the completion of Honda's annual mid-season rotation of technical staff, a policy unique to the Japanese engine manufacturer in Formula One. The motto of Soichiro Honda, "Without racing there is no Honda" rings loud...
The Canadian Grand Prix sees the completion of Honda's annual mid-season rotation of technical staff, a policy unique to the Japanese engine manufacturer in Formula One. The motto of Soichiro Honda, "Without racing there is no Honda" rings loud throughout the company's motorsport programmes and is the cornerstone of its approach to staff development in F1. The aim is simple - to give as much exposure as possible to as many young engineers as possible in the high-pressure, time critical environment of F1. To do this, roughly halfway through each year Honda rotates the majority of its engineering staff on its F1 race team and test team.
Underlining Honda's deep-rooted commitment to its future through training, many of the 25 or so F1 technical staff will return to Japan, except for the most senior members who are permanently assigned to the programme. Approximately 16 new engineers will join each of the teams supporting Lucky Strike BAR Honda and Benson and Hedges Jordan Honda.
After six months on the race team the young engineers return to the Racing Division in Japan, where they remain on the Formula One programme before moving onto general automotive projects. Many of the employees will return to F1 at a later stage to assist the younger engineers who are there for the first time.
New engineers are selected to join the F1 programme from the thousands of employees at Tochigi, Honda's research and development centre in Japan. As part of Honda's racing culture, they are immersed in a situation where they have to operate to strict time limits and are given a high degree of responsibility at a relatively junior level. This experience is invaluable when they return to Japan to work on projects in general automotive design, where problem-solving and innovation are bywords.
There are few senior executives at Honda who haven't been exposed to the motorsport environment and the current president, Mr Yoshino, was previously the head of Honda Racing Corporation, which is responsible for motorcycle racing for Honda worldwide.
The personnel changeover is a key objective of Honda's third generation challenge and when the transition was carried out for the first time last year, it took place entirely at the Canadian Grand Prix. This year it began in Austria and has been staggered over three races. The same policy and time frame extends to the test team but a smaller number of people are involved.
Following the opening of Honda Canada's 'Honda World' at the 2000 Canadian Grand Prix, this year will again see high activity from one of Honda's strongest markets. As part of the weekend's activities all Grand Prix attendees are invited to the four-tent structure which covers 24,000 square feet, to experience a unique free of charge multimedia presentation focused on three specific themes: Racing, Glocalization and Social Awareness.
This will be Honda's 11th visit to Canada for a Grand Prix and the company has powered drivers and cars to victory on four occasions. Honda's first Canadian GP success came in 1986 as Nigel Mansell topped the podium for Williams-Honda and team-mate Nelson Piquet came third. Honda went one better the following year, as Senna led home Prost for a McLaren-Honda 1-2.