Honda-powered squad more confident for Malaysia
After their disappointing start to the season in Australia, BAR are expecting a more positive result from this weekends Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang, scene of the teams first podium position of their 2004 campaign.
Both Jenson Button and Takuma Sato struggled for pace in Melbourne, eventually pulling out of the race while running 11th and 14th respectively. However, since then the team have run close to 3000 kilometres of testing at Jerez and technical director Geoff Willis is more optimistic for round two.
We have had a useful test at Jerez this week where we have been able to investigate some of our performance concerns and we are more confident in our performance for Sepang, he said. We believe that with higher track temperatures we will be more competitive and we will be looking to take advantage of our new engines for the race."
Button was philosophical about BARs poor start to 2005 at Albert Park, but both he and Sato were confident that the teams 007 machine will be better suited to the technical demands of the Tilke-designed Sepang International Circuit.
"The Australian Grand Prix was disappointing, but it was great to finally get back to racing, said Button. We have a lot of work to do to get back up to where we need to be. There are some issues we need to address before Malaysia, but I am confident that we will have these solved and I am looking forward to the next race at Sepang."
"We hope that the very different characteristics of the Sepang circuit will suit our car more, added Sato. The circuit is a mixture of technical and dynamic high-speed corners, so I always enjoy driving there. Because of the heat and humidity it is also a very demanding circuit for a driver from a physical point of view, so we have to have a lot of stamina and do as much preparation training as we can before the race. It will be very tough, but I stay optimistic and will give 100% as always."
Although 2005 regulations require race engines to last for two grand prix weekends, by retiring their cars on the final lap in Australia BAR will be allowed to start the Sepang meeting with new Honda V10s, a strategic move which could prove crucial given the very high temperatures experienced in Malaysia
"We've clocked up some good mileage on the latest spec engine this week, and are looking forward to a better result at the second race of the season," commented Shuhei Nakamoto, engineering director of Honda Racing Development, following BARs work at Jerez.
Last year in Malaysia, Button came from sixth on the grid to finish third for BAR, behind Ferraris Michael Schumacher and Williams Juan Pablo Montoya. Sato was classified 15th after suffering an engine failure three laps from home.