Lucky Strike BAR Honda marked the beginning of their 5th season in Formula One with the unveiling of their 2003 challenger in Barcelona, Spain. The all-new BAR Honda 005 is the result of a huge effort made by the team over the past year to dramatically improve engineering standards and to lift the performance of the team to a much higher level than previously achieved.
>In 2002, under the guidance of new technical director Geoffrey Willis, the team committed to design and build a car of outstanding quality. Compared to the 004, the new BAR Honda 005 is significantly smaller, lighter, has a lower center of gravity and is more aerodynamically efficient than its predecessor.
Generally, the BAR Honda 005 is the product of a completely revised design philosophy and process, the results of which start with the chassis. It is constructed using an entirely different concept to the previous year's car, with new internal bulkheads making it substantially lighter, whilst maintaining the required design stiffness and meeting all the FIA crash test requirements. The gearbox is all new, the maincase now being an aluminum investment-casting and using Xtrac internals. The revised suspension layout is also more compact with lay-down torsion springs. The fuel and cooling systems are much more refined. The number of parts used has been reduced by some 10% and the team has reassessed the way it manufactures components in order to make use of lighter materials.
2003 also begins a new chapter in BAR's relationship with Honda, which will see the team benefit from exclusive engine supply. The new RA003e V10 engine is lighter, smaller and with a lower mass promises to provide more power as well as an improved torque curve. The Japanese manufacturer will continue to work closely with the team in the area of chassis development. They have also become an official sponsor of BAR.
Bridgestone continue with the team as official tire supplier for the fifth consecutive year. The new technical regulations imposed over the winter have meant that each team will be allowed tires specifically designed for their cars, so pre-season testing will see BAR and Bridgestone working very closely to ensure that they have the best possible package for the new season.
Getting his first taste of the car in Barcelona today was British young gun Jenson Button, who joins the team alongside Former World Champion Jacques Villeneuve to create what is undoubtedly one of the most exciting driver line-ups in Formula One today. At only 22, with three seasons in Formula One behind him, Jenson has put his faith in BAR in the belief that the team will provide him with a winning car in the long-term.
The team also took the opportunity in Barcelona to present its new corporate identity. The name has been simplified to BAR, the new design is clean and simple, with a newly-defined culture born out of the need to instill the right attitudes and values into the organization. The race livery for 2003, with title sponsor Lucky Strike driving the image, is an evolution of the familiar white and red color scheme. Sponsors will now benefit from an association with an F1 team that has its own clear identity and personality, and promises to evolve into a strong sports property in the coming years.
Team Principal David Richards commented: "2003 will be a challenging year for BAR but we have made a substantial step forward over the winter. Together with our partners Lucky Strike, Honda and Bridgestone, I am confident that we will make significant progress towards our long-term target of winning the World Championship. None of the other teams have been standing still though, so we will need to stretch ourselves throughout the entire season to achieve our goals."
"With a much-improved car, Jacques Villeneuve will now be able to demonstrate his extraordinary talent, whilst Jenson Button, with three seasons under his belt, is well-positioned to challenge the front runners. Together with our third driver Takuma Sato, I feel that BAR now has a driver line-up that is the match of any in Formula One."
Takeo Kiuchi, Honda F1 Project Leader, commented: "We believe that our additional support, increased branding on the car and the new powerplant will be seen as symbols of our determination to compete at the highest level in Formula One. The whole Lucky Strike BAR Honda team are determined to give the fans some exciting racing this year."
The BAR Honda 005 will make its testing debut at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona with Jenson Button at the wheel.