US GP: BAR preview

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button heads to Indianapolis this week looking to pick up not one, but two trophies from the 2004 United States Grand Prix. He missed out on his sixth podium appearance of the season in Montreal yesterday, but was...

Lucky Strike B*A*R Honda's Jenson Button heads to Indianapolis this week looking to pick up not one, but two trophies from the 2004 United States Grand Prix. He missed out on his sixth podium appearance of the season in Montreal yesterday, but was later promoted from fourth to third following the disqualification of second-placed Ralf Schumacher due to a transgression of the technical regulations.

Jenson left the track prior to the Stewards' decision, so he was unable to enjoy the spoils of his success - the chance to lift the sixth trophy of his F1 career and the customary soaking with a magnum of champagne. The trophy is now winging its way to Indianapolis with the B*A*R race team, who worked late into the evening at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Sunday, preparing to freight the cars and equipment across five US states for Round 9 of the 2004 Formula One World Championship.

The US Grand Prix takes place at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway - or "Indy", as it is affectionately known within the motorsport fraternity. It is the second oldest motor-racing venue in the F1 calendar and the 4.192km circuit snakes through the infield of the fabled Indianapolis Oval, the last corner utilising part of the banking which the cars take flat at 185mph.

With only a week between the two races and totally different circuit characteristics to contend with, the F1 teams face significant logistical and technical challenges in the days ahead. Testing between the back to back races is not permitted within the regulations, so the team have no further technical developments for Indy. They will however be working in earnest to analyse the engine problem which led to another race retirement for Takuma Sato in Canada.

Jenson Button:

"Obviously it's great that I have been awarded third place in Canada, but it's a shame to miss out on a podium appearance. Third place and another trophy is great though, not to mention the extra point which takes us even closer to Renault. Despite the result, our performance in Canada wasn't as good as we expected and we have to look at the reasons why we weren't as quick as we should have been. We can't test before Indy so we don't have any changes to the car or engine - we'll just have to see what we can achieve on the engineering side. We should be quicker in the next race and Indy is quite an interesting circuit with the banking at the last turn. Apart from that it is pretty slow but the grip level is usually higher than Montreal and I'm looking forward to getting back in the car this weekend."

Takuma Sato:

"The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has very unique track characteristics and I personally find it quite interesting. I enjoy the banking on the final turn which gives us good overtaking opportunities following the main straight and turn 1, which should make for an exciting race. I think we will have a good car balance in both low speed grip and long straight top speed, but we have to get on top of the engine problems which I have been having, and I really want to finish the race to achieve my targets."

David Richards, Team Principal:

"We arrived in Montreal expecting to leave with another trophy, albeit in slightly more clear-cut circumstances. Nonetheless, third place and the points were very welcome. Looking ahead to the next race though, we cannot overlook the fact that our performance in the Canadian Grand Prix fell short of expectation and another engine failure brought further disappointment for Takuma. We are now just nine points away from second in the Constructors' Championship and have extended our lead over Williams, so as we reach the midpoint of the season we should be very pleased with everything the team has achieved to date."

Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director:

"The Indianapolis circuit is an interesting track with a marked contrast between the slow infield section and the high speed Oval section requiring a compromise set-up. Although it has a similar wing level to Montreal, it is much less demanding on braking and has a different characteristic, needing good low speed balance and traction. It also has the longest continuous full-throttle straight on the calendar this year, so is very demanding for the engine. As always our target is to finish both cars in the points and get onto the podium."

Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director, Honda Racing Development:

"We obviously have to resolve the problem that has caused our recent engine failures. Everybody is working very hard to find a solution in time for the Indianapolis race this weekend."


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