Today's French Grand Prix ended with disappointment for Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda in one of the closest races of the season. Jenson Button lost out on a possible podium finish to finish fifth, whilst Takuma's hopes of a points finish were dashed...
Today's French Grand Prix ended with disappointment for Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda in one of the closest races of the season. Jenson Button lost out on a possible podium finish to finish fifth, whilst Takuma's hopes of a points finish were dashed when he suffered another engine failure just 15 laps into the 70-lap race.
Off the start, Jenson maintained his fourth-place grid position whilst Takuma dropped a place to eighth. Takuma struggled with the balance of the car in the first stint and this was addressed during the first pitstop. Shortly after rejoining the track, he felt the engine lose power suddenly and he came to a stop.
The team and Jenson worked hard at taking advantage of the close field in the closing stages, in pursuit of third place, but a problem at the last pitstop dropped him behind Barrichello and Trulli.
"I'm very disappointed because we expected to do a lot better here and fifth is not good enough. The strategy was working well for us but at the last pit stop the car went into anti-stall mode and cost me the time advantage that could have put us on the podium. We lost a possible third place today and, with Taku's problem, two much-needed points finishes, having worked so hard to close the gap to Renault. They had a good result today so we really have to have solved these problems going into our home race."
"It is a shame that I could not finish the race after our performance in Indy. The lap times were very close and everybody was competitive, so it was a tough race. I immediately felt a loss of power after the pitstop and we knew there was a problem down the main straight but there was nothing we could do. It was a different problem than before - not sudden but gradual. We have only a week to look into the problem before the team's home race at Silverstone, which is one of the most important races on the calendar."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"Consolidating our third place in the Constructors' Championship and Jenson retaining third place in the Drivers' standings would, on the face of it, appear to be a solid weekend's work. However one can't help but feel disappointed that we didn't make the most of our potential here in Magny-Cours. As for Taku, even I don't believe that bad luck stretches this far and the most rigorous of investigations now has to take place in order to find a solution in time for our home race in just seven days' time."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"A disappointing result at a circuit where we should have been quicker. Jenson raced strongly and the team responded well to the high-pressure pitstops, but in the end the car wasn't quite quick enough. We worked hard with our strategy throughout the race and we had a good chance of recovering third place at the last stop. However as Jenson pulled away, the anti-stall cut in, delaying him by less than a second, but enough to let Jarno and Rubens through turn two. It is also extremely frustrating to have another engine failure on Taku's car shortly after his first stop and this level of unreliability is unacceptable. We have to ensure that our investigations into the problem are conclusive in order to find a proper solution."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:
"It was a good battle between Jenson, Jarno and Rubens, but I am of course disappointed we missed out on the podium place. It is a shame that Taku's engine failed again so we will work very hard this week to find the cause and put a counter measure in place for the next race at Silverstone."