Italian GP: BAR preview

The next pitstop for the Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team, and Round 15 of the 2004 World Championship, is the legendary Autodromo Nationale Monza circuit, the spiritual home of motorsport in Italy. Situated on the outskirts of Milan, Monza is the...

The next pitstop for the Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda team, and Round 15 of the 2004 World Championship, is the legendary Autodromo Nationale Monza circuit, the spiritual home of motorsport in Italy.

Situated on the outskirts of Milan, Monza is the fastest race on the F1 calendar with long, high-speed straights interspersed with tight chicanes and culminating with the famous final sweeping bend, Parabolica. It is a low-downforce circuit with a very smooth surface and drivers will be required to use full throttle for over 70% of the lap.

The team has been working hard to prepare for Monza, using its full line-up of race and third drivers in a three-day, three-car test at the circuit this week. The team conducted comprehensive development work on all areas of the car, including aerodynamics, engine and intensive tyre assessment with Michelin.

Jenson Button:

"I am looking forward to racing in Monza. The atmosphere is always great over the race weekend. Monza is a low-downforce circuit and our car should work well on this track. Our main aim is to finish in front of the Renaults and collect as many points as possible to edge closer to second place in the Constructors' Championship."

Takuma Sato:

"It was obviously frustrating that we could not finish the race last weekend in Spa and that is why we are very much looking forward to the Italian Grand Prix. It is great to be back in Monza this week after the summer testing ban and we have some very positive feedback about the car. Monza is an historic circuit and the only one where you can reach speeds of up to 360 kmh."

"It is a circuit of long straights and chicanes, where you have to climb the kerbs a lot and where you have little downforce and need good mechanical grip. It is very important to have good braking stability as there are few overtaking opportunities. Even though there are no fast challenging corners, it is always an exciting race in Monza so I am really looking forward to racing there next week."

David Richards, Team Principal:

"Despite a disappointing result in our last race at Spa, I am looking forward to the four remaining Grands Prix of the season. I am confident we can maintain the momentum that we have worked so hard to establish and ensure a top three position in the Championship. The test team have made great progress with our latest developments in Monza this week. Personally I'm hopeful that the Italian Grand Prix, our last race in Europe, will mark a return to the podium for B*A*R before we head off for the fly-aways once again, this time to the Far East and Brazil."

Craig Wilson, Chief Race Engineer:

"After the disappointment of a double DNF for both drivers due to incidents in Spa, we head to the last European race of the year in Monza. It is now unique amongst the F1 circuits because of its very high speed nature due to the long straights, which require a specific low-downforce aero package just for this track."

"With the combination of 1st and 2nd gear chicanes and the very high speed, the braking requirements are the most demanding of all the tracks so the brake cooling and brake material have to be heavy duty. Engine and gearbox durability are also factors during races here. With the end of the test ban, we have been testing in Monza ahead of the GP to finalise the aero, engine, brakes and tyre specifications."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"Of all the circuits on the calendar, Monza is the one where the engine is at top revs for the greatest percentage of the lap. This, together with the great atmosphere and history of the place, makes it one of our favourite tracks and we're confident of a strong showing in the race."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jenson Button , David Richards , Shuhei Nakamoto