BAR's Nick Fry: do not write us off yet 08 Apr 2005
Stars of the 2004 season, BAR, have seen their results nosedive this year, with neither Jenson Button nor Takuma Sato having finished a race. However, following this weeks appointment of two-time CART champion Gil de Ferran as sporting director, and some promising pace from the 007 in testing, CEO Nick Fry believes we could yet see a BAR driver standing atop the podium in 2005.
I am still completely confident that we can achieve the aim of winning a race this year, said Fry. "The start has been disappointing for various reasons, but we are on top of the issues. We know exactly what we want to do, testing some new aero bits, and it has been looking positive.
Jenson Buttons new unofficial lap record at Barcelona on Thursday gave some timely credence to Frys words, and with championship leaders Renault experiencing a more troubled session at the Circuit de Catalunya, he warned that it is far too early to assume the title will go to the French team.
Everyone, including Renault, knows that the season is very long this year, said Fry. Don't underestimate anyone. With the amount of testing Ferrari are doing it's allowing them to catch up quickly, so they will be in on it in two or three races. And McLaren and we will improve, so Alonso is not home and dry.
De Ferrans appointment is designed to free up Fry to concentrate on running the business side of BAR and allow technical director more time to focus on his job, rather than running the team at Grands Prix. However, de Ferran admitted it will take him a while to adapt to Formula One racing and Fry insisted he is not expecting immediate results.
There are many nuances of F1 that I do not know about, but therein lies some of my challenge, said de Ferran. But on the other hand I feel I have accumulated all the experience I can and this type of road is definitely something I want to do. I feel ready for it. Time will tell how successful I will be.
It is all part of building a wall, bit by bit, added Fry. We have obviously struggled with some technical issues, but it looks like we are getting to the bottom of them. Gils is a long-term appointment and he has got to get himself up to speed, but we are doing this to get the right blend for people to eventually win the world championship. I don't think Gil will change things immediately, but he will have impact in the medium to long term.
De Ferran is due to arrive at BARs UK factory from the US on Monday and will spend a couple of days there before heading to Paul Ricard for the teams next test session. He will then be on the pit wall at Imola for his first race, the San Marino Grand Prix on April 24.