Button and Barrichello pledge to keep the faith 29 Jan 2008
With their troublesome 2007 campaigns only just behind them, Honda drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello would be forgiven for feeling a little cautious about their hopes for the coming season. Speaking at the launch of the new RA108, however, both Button and Barrichello insisted they were confident that the Japanese squad would come back stronger.
My motivation is to be with a team that is setting its sights on performing at the highest level and in a car that is competitive and I have faith in Honda for the period that lies ahead, said Button. I want to win races and I want to be in contention to be world champion.
With poor aero performance and a lack of stability under braking to contend with Button scored just six points in 2007, 50 less than his tally from the season before. But the British driver believes that adjustments within the squad, which include the hiring of new team principal Ross Brawn, and intense development efforts over the off-season should start to pay off in 2008.
The past five years have been challenging and last year was disappointing, but the team has recognised this and set about tackling the areas that have prevented us from achieving best performance, he added. Everyone at the Honda Racing F1 Team has worked incredibly hard over the winter to develop the RA108 ready for the launch today.
The changes that we have made to the team over the last six months of 2007 were exactly what the team needed to take us forward this year and I am confident that we have the right people, along with great support and resources from Honda, to achieve our targets.
For Barrichello, 07 proved even harder, with the former Ferrari driver enduring the ignominy of failing to score a single point - a first in his 15 season-long Formula One career. Even so, the Brazilian, who gave the new car its first run during testing in Valencia last week, is determined to remain optimistic.
It is too soon to reach any conclusions about the car's handling and performance, but I am looking forward to the Barcelona test this coming weekend and really getting to grips with the development of the RA108, said the 35 year-old. This year will be my 16th season in Formula One and my third season with the Honda Racing F1 Team, but my love of the sport and my enthusiasm is undiminished.
Both race drivers are expected to be in action at Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya in Spain later this week, alongside new test driver Alex Wurz.