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Century approaches for BAR 04 Oct 2004

Jenson Button (GBR) BAR Honda 006.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Monza, Italy, 11 September 2004 Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) TAG McLaren talks with David Richards (GBR) BAR Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 10 September 2004 Takuma Sato (JPN) BAR.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 10 September 2004 Jenson Button (GBR) BAR Honda 006.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Belgian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 27 August 2004 Takuma Sato (JPN) BAR.
Formula One World Championship, Rd14, Belgian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium, 28 August 2004

BAR will be celebrating their 100th Grand Prix appearance in Japan this weekend at the home race of their engine suppliers, Honda. It will also be the first time the team have gone into a race with more than 100 points in the season standings.

BAR, who made their Formula One debut in Australia in 1999, are enjoying far and away their best season to date. Last year they finished fifth in the standings with 26 points. This year they head to Suzuka in a strong second place, with 105 points, following their second and sixth place finishes in China.

“The team is proud to be celebrating its 100th Grand Prix in Japan,” said team boss David Richards. “It is incredible to think that, last year, we had just 18 points heading into this race and a tribute to the entire team that we have broken the 100-point barrier as we celebrate this important milestone in BAR's short history."

2004 has unquestionably been BAR’s breakthrough season. In their much-hyped debut year, they failed to score a single point. This year they have amassed more than in all their previous seasons put together.

And though that all-important first win still eludes them, Jenson Button has his sights firmly set on the top step of the Suzuka podium, after coming home second for the third time this season in Shanghai. Meanwhile, team mate Takuma Sato, will have the benefit of home support and local knowledge this weekend. Should he take victory, he would be the first Japanese driver to win a Grand Prix.

"Both Takuma and I are really looking forward to the Japanese Grand Prix,” said Button. “Suzuka is a very special circuit in itself and I think our car and package will work very well there. The change of direction with our car is very good, which is important for the particular characteristics of this circuit.

“We know we can be fast there having finished fourth and sixth last year, so I am expecting a lot from the race. It's also going to be very special being Honda's home grand prix at Honda's own circuit. We have had some fantastic results this season and hopefully they will continue in Suzuka."

“There is a big following for F1 in Japan and personally for me, at my home Grand Prix, the feeling driving there is unbelievable,” added Sato. “The fans at Suzuka always support me very well and they are so enthusiastic! After such a great team result in Shanghai last weekend, I am very much looking forward to returning to Japan and to hopefully getting back onto the podium once again."

Sato lays eighth in the driver standings on 26 points. Button is third, with 79.