Honda Racing F1 Team is the new name chosen by Honda for its Formula One Team following the acquisition by Honda Motor Co. Ltd of the full 100% shareholding in B·A·R Honda. The name has been selected to reflect Honda's rich and successful heritage in the sport - a theme which will permeate every element of the team's new identity.
During its first two generations of Formula One competition - from 1964 to 1968 and from 1983 to 1992 - Honda won 11 world titles in both the Constructors' and Drivers' championships with a total of 71 race wins. Taking inspiration from these historic Honda cars, the Honda Racing F1 Team car entry for the 2006 season will be the RA106 and the new V8 Honda engine will be the RA806E, consistent with the nomenclature from its previous two generations of F1 competition.
The team's full competition entry name will be Lucky Strike Honda Racing F1 Team. Whilst founding partner and former shareholder British American Tobacco has agreed to sell its equity in the team, 2006 will see a continuation of its innovative Lucky Strike title sponsorship programme and the brand identity will continue to form the basis of the race car livery next season.
Commenting on the new team name, Nick Fry, Chief Executive Officer, said:
"Over the past few weeks I have been delighted to observe the progress we have made in the transition to Honda ownership. The name change is perhaps the clearest manifestation of the fact that we are now all part of Honda. It creates a focal point for the team culture going forward, and with an eye towards Honda's proud heritage, the name reminds us all that we have the depth, determination and resource required to fulfil our racing ambitions."
Although the team's 2006 race car livery will have a familiar feel, the team has unveiled an exciting new look for its '06 Concept car, which the team began testing this week in Barcelona. Honda Racing White provides the base canvas, a colour which has been synonymous with the Honda motorsport identity since the RA271, driven by Ronnie Bucknum, marked Honda's F1 debut at the Nürburgring in 1964. The more familiar red, combined with elements of the Lucky Strike brand's colour palette, complete this striking new livery, which will be used throughout the winter testing period leading up to the track debut of the RA106 race car.
The '06 Concept car combines this year's B·A·R Honda 007 race chassis with the newly-designed 2006 rear end components, including the all-new Honda V8 engine. The Concept car plays a vital role in the development of next year's car, allowing for the early running of the new powertrain, gearbox and rear suspension assembly.
Whilst the Concept car livery is already on show at the Circuit de Catalunya, the new team name was confirmed by the FIA today in its publication of the official 2006 team entry list and will be introduced with immediate effect.
In addition, the FIA has published the 2006 driver entry list, which confirms that the team's driver line-up of Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button will compete with driver numbers 11 and 12 respectively. The allocated driver numbers reflect the team's position in the 2005 Constructors' Championship, with Jenson relinquishing his right, as the incumbent driver, to the lead entry number and handing it to Rubens after learning how special the number has been to him throughout his career.
Simon Thompson, Honda (UK)'s Head of Car Marketing comments: "If Honda didn't race, there would be no Honda. Winning the Formula 1 World Championship will be another Impossible Dream come true."