BAR boss David Richards is confident the team is improving all the time but is not happy with the unreliability problems that have plagued BAR lately. Jacques Villeneuve often seems to be on the receiving end of the gremlins and the Canadian is ...
BAR boss David Richards is confident the team is improving all the time but is not happy with the unreliability problems that have plagued BAR lately. Jacques Villeneuve often seems to be on the receiving end of the gremlins and the Canadian is getting frustrated with so many non-finishes. Richards is determined to address the problems.
"However, if I look at the overall picture and the direction the team has taken -- and assuming we can continue that momentum -- I have to feel reasonably content."
BAR has had four points finishes so far between Villeneuve and Jenson Button, certainly an improvement on last year. The best in 2003 was Button's fourth at the A1-Ring and Richards thinks the chassis is good but the tyre battle is a significant factor.
"The overall performance of the car," he said of the major positives this year. "When the chassis is performing well and the tyres are right, we are right up there challenging the top three or four teams. Clearly this year has become a tyre battle and that has had a significant impact on the race results."
"In Canada, for instance, we were third and fourth fastest when it was wet on the Saturday. Then, when it dried out, we were back in the latter half of the grid."
With the tyre situation it's hard to accurately place the team's performance but BAR is the best Bridgestone team after Ferrari, according to Richards. "We are consistently the second best of the Bridgestone runners and there's no real denying that. But, looking at the wider picture, the tyre situation does mask a lot."
There is a busy time ahead, with three races in four weeks starting with this coming weekend's European Grand Prix. Richards thinks it will be a tough time: "This is a very critical part of the year," he explained. "We've also got a lot of testing going on at the moment, so there's a lot of pressure on everybody."
"This next month is going to be a very tough time for the entire team; the guys back at the factory getting all the parts prepared, those involved with the testing programme, and, of course, the race team itself."
The British Grand Prix in July will be an important event as the team's home race: "It's like playing in front of your home crowd in a football match," Richards concluded. "Aside from Jordan, we are the nearest team to Silverstone, so it's an important race for the entire organization at BAR."