Japanese GP: BAR race notes

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda celebrated its 100th race with a podium today as Jenson Button crossed the line in 3rd place in the team's second home Grand Prix at Suzuka. His team-mate Takuma Sato played his part in securing the team's target of a ...

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda celebrated its 100th race with a podium today as Jenson Button crossed the line in 3rd place in the team's second home Grand Prix at Suzuka. His team-mate Takuma Sato played his part in securing the team's target of a strong points finish for both cars when he came home 4th, despite looking in good shape for a podium himself after running 3rd for much of the race. Nonetheless, he secured his best-ever finish on home turf at Suzuka.

Jenson got a strong start off the line, manoeuvring his way into 3rd place ahead of his team-mate. Takuma gained a place from 4th to 5th at the start but their differing strategies allowed him to move ahead of his team-mate for the first two stints of his race. Jenson gained the advantage in the last stint, bringing his own podium tally to 10 this season and the team's combined number of podium finishes to 11. Today's result means B*A*R has consolidated its 2nd position in the Constructors' standings and pulled out a lead of 16 points from 3rd placed Renault with just one race remaining.

Jenson Button:

"Achieving another podium is a fantastic result here as we celebrate B*A*R's 100th Grand Prix and in the 40th year since Honda's F1 debut, so I'm very happy. It's also a great team result, with Taku finishing 4th and our combined result enabling us to pull even further ahead of Renault. The car was very difficult to drive at first because with a two-stop strategy I was very heavy on fuel.

"As we got further into the race though, the car felt great and, once again, two-stopping really paid off for me. I think the last few races have demonstrated a great team effort by B*A*R, with Takuma and I achieving exactly the results we needed to beat Renault. The whole team should be very proud of that. There is still one race remaining though and although Renault will have a very very tough job on their hands to beat us, we'll wait until Brazil before celebrating what has been a pretty amazing year for B*A*R."

Takuma Sato:

"It was great that we managed to have a race this afternoon after yesterday's cancellation, although it was extremely difficult to work out the set-up as we were not able to practice on a dry track. That's why we ran two different strategies to enable us to cope with the widest range of possibilities. As it turned out, I was not able to get the result that I wanted and be on the podium, but at the end of the day, it was a great result for the team and really helps us to secure 2nd in the Constructors' Championship."

"I felt so much support from my home fans; they were fantastic and really motivated me during the race. We have one more race left in Brazil and I will be doing my best to have another strong race performance there."

David Richards, Team Principal:

"3rd and 4th is an excellent result; giving us our 11th podium of the season, and for the second race in a row, B*A*R is the top scoring team. This really shows how consistently the combined efforts of B*A*R, Honda and Michelin are delivering, and gives us a tremendous foundation on which to build for next year. Taku is achieving very solid results, and despite the pressure of his home Grand Prix, he kept it all together and drove a faultless race."

"The fact that Jenson was two-stopping really underlined the strength of his fifth place on the grid, and he did well to keep up the pace on heavy fuel. In the end we still have a lot of work to do to take the race to Ferrari, but we are on the right track."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:

"In the last three races B*A*R has scored 33 points with another two-car finish and its 11th podium place at this important 'home' race We ran different race strategies with the two drivers and in the end Takuma was not quite able to make the small advantage of the three-stop work."

"It was difficult to find a good race set-up without any dry-running and this showed up with both drivers finding the car balance poor and low grip throughout the race. We have recently been working on improving our starts and this start showed the benefits with Takuma jumping Webber and Jenson beating them both. After the first few laps running just in front of Takuma, Jenson let him pass to allow them both to run at their own strategy pace."

"After that both drivers' races went much to plan. We were not quite quick enough to get ahead of Ralf Schumacher at the second stop and were helped by the collision between Coulthard and Barrichello, but were able to keep ahead of the Renaults throughout most of the race. This is just the result the team needed for the Constructors' Championship 2nd-place battle, allowing us to go to the last race with a 16-point advantage."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"A tenth podium for Jenson, and Taku's best-ever Suzuka finish is a pleasing result. Both drivers coped really well with qualifying on a drying track and drove very solid races. If I'm being greedy, I'd say it's a shame Taku couldn't join Jenson on the podium at his home race. We'll be aiming to round off the season with a strong performance at Interlagos!"

Jenson Button
Chassis: BAR Honda 006/05
Position: 3rd
Fastest Lap: 1:33.819

Takuma Sato
Chassis: BAR Honda 006-06
Position: 4th
Fastest Lap: 1:33.742


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , David Richards , Shuhei Nakamoto
Teams Ferrari