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BAR to test with 'concept car' at Barcelona 25 Nov 2003

Takuma Sato (JPN) BAR Honda 005 celebrates his 6th position
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Japanese Grand Prix, Suzuka , Japan, 12 October 2003

This week's Barcelona test will see BAR introduce what is described by the team as its '04 Concept car. The machine is an interim step towards the new 006, scheduled for launch in February, and will help the Honda-powered squad to evaluate new technologies in preparation for their 2004 campaign.

Jenson Button and new team mate Takuma Sato will both be present for the three-day Spanish programme, the main objectives of which are to evaluate the performance of the team's 2004 engine and rear-end package, to provide a preliminary assessment of reliability and to kick-start development work with new tyre supplier Michelin.

Button will commence running at the wheel of the '04 Concept car, which has its own distinct livery, whilst Sato, who made his race debut for the team in Japan in October, will work mainly with this year's 005 chassis.

"This week's programme is essentially the start of our 2004 season," said Technical Director Geoffrey Willis. "We have made significant advances for next year with both engine and transmission, and we are eager to start evaluating those with the benefit of our '04 Concept car.

"Another major technical development is of course our move to Michelin tyres and this week's test will see us working with their engineers for the first time. We are embarking on a steep learning curve in order to re-optimise our car in light of this significant change, and to this end we are planning to conduct substantially more testing than we did prior to the 2003 season."

The Barcelona test, which commences Tuesday, will see the team's new Honda engine put through its paces on the track for the first time. "It is lighter, more compact and has a lower centre of gravity than last season's unit, and we are looking forward to a productive winter testing season to lay the foundations for improved race results next year," commented Shuhei Nakamoto, Engineering Director for Honda Racing Development.

BAR finished fifth in the 2003 constructors' championship after scoring a total of 26 points - 17 from Button, six from Jacques Villeneuve and three from Sato.

See also: BAR-Michelin switch confirmed