The legendary Hockenheimring plays host to the German Grand Prix next weekend, round 12 of the 2003 World Championship and the last race before the teams can relax and enjoy the first of two three-week breaks within this year's calendar. Lucky...
The legendary Hockenheimring plays host to the German Grand Prix next weekend, round 12 of the 2003 World Championship and the last race before the teams can relax and enjoy the first of two three-week breaks within this year's calendar.
Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda introduced an evolution of the B*A*R Honda 005 at the British Grand Prix, which featured aerodynamic and engine developments. The new car highlighted improvements in every area and the enhanced performance helped Jenson Button to fight from the back of the grid not once but twice to secure a hard-fought Championship point. The car should be equally well- suited to the Hockenheimring, where the team hopes to realise more of the potential of the new package.
Last year saw the introduction of the revised Hockenheimring, which meant the removal of the fast woodland straights and the inclusion of a new fast sweep leading into a slow, wide hairpin. The result was a modern, high-downforce circuit featuring mostly slow and medium-speed corners. Although overall speeds have been reduced slightly, there are still opportunities for overtaking.
Last year's race ended with disappointment for B*A*R with both Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis retiring from the race. Current race drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button both hold good track records at this circuit, so the team is hoping for a more successful result here this year. Jacques Villeneuve is no stranger to the podium at Hockenheim, having finished in third place on three occasions, most recently with B*A*R in 2001. It has also proved a good race for Jenson Button, who finished an equal career best of fourth place here in 2000.
"I have quite good memories of racing on the old track in the past. I am not a big fan of the new track and didn't really enjoy racing on it last year. It's not a low downforce track anymore and it's like many of the circuits we race at. There are a few overtaking opportunities though, which should make for an interesting race. Our new car is definitely an improvement and the engine worked really well during the race last weekend, so I am optimistic for Hockenheim."
"Silverstone showed that we have made some good steps forward with the overall car and engine package and I had a very good race, so I am definitely looking forward to Germany and hoping to pick up where we left off. My objective in Hockenheim is to have as good a qualifying as possible because, if our race pace in Silverstone was any indication, we can look forward to a strong result and I really want more points."
"Last year we went to the revised circuit not really knowing what to expect and found that the new section was very hard on tyres, but this year we have the data and hopefully we'll be in good shape. The new circuit has a good overtaking opportunity at the end of the back straight and although the old track was very spectacular, at least the revised version retains the Stadium Section which is pretty special to drive through."
David Richards, Team Principal:
"Our revised car delivered a notable improvement in performance at Silverstone and this gives the team encouragement for the remainder of the season. Together with Honda and Bridgestone, we must now focus all our efforts on maintaining this rate of development in order to secure our target of fifth place in the Championship."
Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:
"After an encouraging performance at Silverstone, we are confident that the car will also work well at Hockenheim. The revised circuit now requires relatively high downforce levels, similar to Silverstone, and good aerodynamic efficiency. There is however more emphasis on traction and low-speed grip, so we are hopeful that the latest tyre compounds from Bridgestone will contribute to a competitive weekend for us."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development
"We are determined to carry our improved performance through to Germany and our target is to get both drivers in the points. We will be using the time back in Japan during the testing ban to work on various developments, in order to strengthen our package for the remainder of the season."