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Fry: technical team needs strengthening 14 Apr 2007

Nick Fry (GBR) Honda Racing F1 Team Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Practice Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Friday, 13 April 2007

As the performance of Honda’s RA107 continues to disappoint in Bahrain, team principal Nick Fry has admitted the Japanese squad’s technical line-up needs to be rejuvenated. Fry, however, was quick to deny recent reports that they have made an offer to former Ferrari technical director Ross Brawn, currently on sabbatical for a year.

“I made one comment in Malaysia along the lines that I’m sure there are a number of people who might be interested in Ross,” explained Fry. “In my view he’s an incredibly talented person and he would be an asset to most Formula One teams.

“I also added that I thought Ferrari would have some kind of arrangement with Ross. You don’t let a person of that talent go without having something, whether it be written or verbal, and I was told that Jean (Todt) or Ferrari had confirmed that was the case. I’m sure there are a number of people interested in him but we will see what happens later in the year.”

After a successful 2006, which saw Honda dominate the midfield, the team were hoping to consistently challenge the front-runners this season. But they have failed to impress during the two opening rounds in Australia and Malaysia and Fry is not ruling out possible staff changes.

“We are always looking to strengthen the team, but these things, I think we all recognise, don’t happen overnight,” he added. “Even if you start talking to someone seriously, invariably if they are any good they do have existing contracts and they do have the usual gardening leave and the other things, so lead times on these things are, in most cases, relatively slow but we certainly need to strengthen the team in some areas.”

The RA107, with its distinctive earth livery, has lacked both pace and grip so far, leading some pundits to suggest the team would be better off chalking the car down to experience and introducing a completely new package later in the season. Fry, though admitting significant changes were necessary, refuted the need for such a drastic move.

“There are large parts of the car where we don’t have any specially identified problem,” he said. “The gearbox seems to work, the engine has been pretty reliable, the main part of the monocoque, albeit that we may have to alter things to make some changes to the aerodynamic shape. As far as we can tell, the rear suspension seems perfectly okay. We are going to have to change a reasonable amount. I wouldn’t call it a new car but it’s not going to be insubstantial either.”

Yet to score a single world championship point, Honda are currently seventh in the constructors’ table.