Formula One heads east again next week for Round 18 of the 2005 World Championship at the Japanese Grand Prix. B*A*R Honda regards this as another 'home race' alongside Silverstone and this year's event in Suzuka will have even greater...
Formula One heads east again next week for Round 18 of the 2005 World Championship at the Japanese Grand Prix. B*A*R Honda regards this as another 'home race' alongside Silverstone and this year's event in Suzuka will have even greater significance than usual as Honda celebrates the milestone of its 100th Grand Prix with the B*A*R Honda team.
In preparation for the race next weekend, the team has been testing in Jerez this week. During the two-day, two-car test third driver Anthony Davidson and James Rossiter, member of the team's Young Driver Programme, put the B*A*R Honda 007's latest aero, cooling and brake upgrade packages through their paces in readiness for the high downforce circuit at Suzuka.
2004 IRL Indy Car champion Tony Kanaan joined the team in Jerez on Thursday. It was the Brazilian's first opportunity to drive a Formula One car and the invitation was extended to him in recognition of his achievements in the IRL series last year.
The Honda-owned Suzuka Racing Circuit is situated on Honshu, the largest of the Japanese islands, and is widely regarded as a true drivers' circuit. The 18-turn, figure-of-eight circuit is unique in Formula One. It begins with a fast 7th gear bend that tightens to lead into a series of fast S-bends.
Spoon Curve and the legendary '130R' are the other great challenges of the track, with overtaking opportunities in the 50mph Casio Triangle chicane and occasionally at the 140mph first corner or, for the brave, at the Turn 11 Hairpin.
"Suzuka is special because it's Honda's home circuit. I've had good support there in the past, especially since I've been involved with Honda and the B*A*R Honda team. I'm excited about going back, and I think if we sort out the issues we had in Brazil, we'll be reasonably quick."
"Suzuka is a very tough circuit, mentally and physically. You have to be very precise around there, and also very consistent, which is difficult. It is definitely one of my favourite circuits."
"The Japanese Grand Prix is a very special race for many reasons. I love the layout of the Suzuka circuit as it follows the natural lay of the land and of course the atmosphere over the race weekend is fantastic. The corners and combinations of the track are very challenging, but a lot of fun to drive."
"As there are many corners through the speed range, from low to very high speed, making up the unique figure-of-eight, it is important to get the set-up of the car right. You also need a good balance, especially for Turns 1 and 2 and into the S's as most of your time is spent cornering. Obviously I am always very excited when I come back to Suzuka and am looking forward to a great race in front of my home crowd next weekend."
Gil de Ferran, Sporting director:
"Together with Silverstone this is one of our most important grands prix as it can be considered as one of our home races - not only because of Honda but because of Takuma also. The Suzuka track is a legendary drivers' circuit."
"For this race both Jenson and Taku will be driving the latest spec engine from Honda and we will have further developments on the car. We welcome the opportunity to perform next weekend, not only in front of the great number of F1 fans in Japan, but also in front of the supporters within our Honda family."
Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering director, Honda Racing Development:
"It goes without saying that this is a big weekend for everyone. We are all determined to put on a good show for all our fans in Japan. To that end we have introduced an upgrade - Taku has already used the Suzuka spec engine in Brazil - but we will be fitting a new engine in Jenson's car for this race."