Japanese GP BAR preview

2001 Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka 12-14 October The Team Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda have arrived in Suzuka for the team's 50th Grand Prix determined to resolve the problems which blighted their performance in Indianapolis two weeks ago. The team ...

2001 Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka
12-14 October

The Team
Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda have arrived in Suzuka for the team's 50th Grand Prix determined to resolve the problems which blighted their performance in Indianapolis two weeks ago. The team intend to pull out all the stops for Honda's home Grand Prix and secure 5th place in the Constructors' Championship. Preparations for this Sunday's race began in earnest immediately after the US Grand Prix and the entire team will be leaving no stone unturned to make the BAR003 competitive enough to secure the strong points finish required.

Craig Pollock, Team Principal
"The Japanese Grand Prix is a critical race for us for many reasons but particularly because of our partnerships with Honda and Bridgestone. We have a great many Japanese fans and we are determined to put in a strong performance for them on home ground. This race is also critical because the team has to turn the corner here. Many people have asked me to comment on our last Grand Prix and I have said that it was our worst racing performance of the last three seasons. We cannot repeat that here in Suzuka and every single member of the team knows there is a great deal of work to do before Sunday's race. We are determined to finish this season on a high and with the momentum we need to deliver a race-winning car next season."

Jacques Villeneuve
"It's the last race, there is plenty of energy within the team and we've just got to get it right and work really, really hard. Suzuka is one of the most beautiful tracks that we have on the Grand Prix calendar. There are a lot of difficult and demanding high-speed corners. It is difficult to get a rhythm and choose a line through the corners, such as the S corners after turns 2 and 3. They are very difficult to do properly. When you do a good lap at Suzuka it feels really, really good. Indianapolis was a terrible race for us but if we get a perfect weekend here we might get a point or two, or with a little bit of luck, a podium. So it's worth it to pour the energy in and to finish the season on a high note. I think that will really help everybody work on the new car in November and December."

Olivier Panis
"Suzuka is my second favourite circuit after Spa. It is technical but also very challenging due to the fast part of the track. It has a great rhythm, which makes it very enjoyable to drive. My favourite part of the track is the fast chicane just after the first corner into the S-curve but generally I get very excited about driving here. I haven't raced here since 1999 when I qualified 6th on the grid. This year, I will be trying hard to get the best for Honda and for the team generally after a very difficult race in Indianapolis."

The Circuit
Race Distance - 53 Laps. 192.995 miles (310.596 km)
Circuit Length - 3.644 miles (5.864 km)

Built as a test track for Honda and designed by John Hugenholtz, Suzuka is one of the most challenging circuits in the world. It possesses gradient changes as well as a selection of fast corners and is the only current Formula One circuit with a "figure-of-eight" layout. Despite the high-speed section from Spoon Curve to the chicane, Suzuka demands fairly high levels of downforce. Good cornering ability is needed for the Esses, Dunlop Corner, Degner Curve and the daunting 130R, routinely taken by drivers at 260km/h. Suzuka offers good overtaking opportunities, notably into the first turn and on the approaches to the hairpin and chicane. For drivers and engineers alike, understeer is the biggest problem. It is especially important to neutralise this characteristic on the exit from the Spoon Curve, so as to carry as much speed as possible onto the following straight, up to 130R and on through the chicane. Traction, as always, is important at Suzuka, particularly on the exit from slow corners, but a slight loss of grip might be accepted in order to keep understeer to a minimum. Suzuka also boasts a self-contained theme park with a funfair, golf course and other facilities, including the Honda racing museum.


Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda are delighted that test driver Takuma Sato has secured a seat in Formula One with Jordan in 2002. Commenting on the news, which was announced today, Team Principal Craig Pollock said:

"When Takuma first tested for us last year his talent was immediately apparent and we were delighted to sign him as one of our test drivers this season. His excellent testing progress this year, coupled with his impressive Formula 3 Championship win, have secured him a well-deserved drive with the Honda-powered Jordan team. We are extremely happy to have helped Takuma on his way to what I'm sure will be a very successful Formula 1 career. We all wish him the very best of luck for the future."


Thousands of people in the Odaiba district of Tokyo celebrated the national holiday on Monday (8 October) at a unique event organised by Fuji TV in conjunction with Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda. The Fuji TV F1 Super Run was held on a 535m course specially laid out in a giant parking lot in the heart of Tokyo's fashionable waterfront district. The demonstration featured Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve in a Honda S2000 and test driver Takuma Sato in one of the team's F1 machines, together with a vintage 1967 Honda RA300.

Later Jacques and Takuma joined five other drivers including former F1 pilot Aguri Suzuki on stage, where they were interviewed by Fuji TV's F1 commentators. Not even the unexpected rain and wind could dampen the spirits of 1200 lucky fans who won seats in the grandstands on the front straight. Outside of the event site, throngs of F1 fans could be seen lining the roads and in the windows of overlooking buildings, hoping to catch a glimpse of both the stars and their cars.

Following the event, Jacques Villeneuve, commented, "I am really pleased to have a chance to demonstrate the unique thrill and power of a Formula One car here in the middle of Tokyo and to share this experience with those who cannot come to the Suzuka circuit. I was really happy to be a part of this event and to see the many fans who came along and enjoyed themselves - despite the rain."

Takuma Sato added, "I would like to express my appreciation to Fuji TV, Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda and the many other people who made this wonderful event possible. It was truly a uniquely enjoyable drive - totally unlike what I experience at racing circuits, and it offered a rare opportunity to be close to all the fans."


Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda would like to congratulate Jacques Villeneuve and his new fiancee Ellen (Elly) Green following the recent announcement of their engagement.

The couple met in the U.S. earlier this year, where Elly was based with the New York City Ballet prior to joining the Royal Danish Ballet in Copenhagen recently. They have no immediate plans and are taking everything one step at a time. Many congratulations from the whole team. -ENDS- For further media information please contact: Tracy Novak, Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda Press Office Tel: +44 (0)7887 777671 Email: tracy.novak@baracing.co.uk Hi-resolution photography from the 2001 Japanese GP - plus shots of Jacques Villeneuve and Elly Green - can be downloaded from: Website: http://bat.latphoto.co.uk User name: bat media Password: media

- www.bar.net

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , John Hugenholtz , Aguri Suzuki
Teams Jordan