BAR launch: Wraps come off crucial car

British American Racing has launched its 2003 Formula 1 car, the 005, which the team hopes will allow it to take on the grand prix elite

BAR launch: Wraps come off crucial car

The new car, which will be driven by former world champion Jacques Villeneuve and rising British star Jenson Button this season, was launched in the city of Barcelona today (Tuesday). The chassis is designed by ex-Williams aerodynamicist Geoff Willis, and its efficiency will be crucial as Japanese giant Honda focuses all its efforts on the Brackley-based team in 2003.

The car features more prominent Honda branding and a revised colourscheme. BAR finished a lowly eighth in the constructors' championship in 2002, and will be searching for a marked improvement in its fortunes this year to justify its works Honda engine supply.

Team principal David Richards said: "2003 will be a challenging year for B·A·R but we have made a substantial step forward over the winter. Together with our partners Lucky Strike, Honda and Bridgestone, I am confident that we will make significant progress towards our long-term target of winning the world championship. None of the other teams have been standing still though, so we will need to stretch ourselves throughout the entire season to achieve our goals."

After today's launch, the squad will then move on to the Circuit de Catalunya for testing from Wednesday to Friday, when Button and test drivers Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson are expected to put the new Honda-powered machine through its paces. The team will return to the Spanish circuit next week with a second chassis.

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