BAR tech boss targets reliability

BAR's technical director Geoff Willis reckons the team will find reliability next season. The "concept car" they've been running in winter testing is an essential part of reversing the 2003 trend of Sunday retirements.

BAR tech boss targets reliability

"Reliability is the top priority for us for next season," said Willis. "The concept car gives us the opportunity to run the 2004 engine, gearbox and essentially all of the other complicated mechanical systems much earlier than would be the case if we waited for the 2004 chassis."

"It also allows us to evaluate a few other parts of the car such as the new hydraulics system in advance of waiting for the new car. By running those reliability-critical parts early it gives us the ability to release the 2004 car later.

"We can therefore spend more time on the performance development of the new car before setting anything in stone.

Jacques Villeneuve bore the brunt of the BAR luck last season. He retired from eight of his 15 races in 2003. Button got away with five retirements.



"We didn't have fundamental problems last year, but we did have reliability issues," continued Willis. "Strangely enough we were one of the most reliable teams on Friday and Saturday but then we'd get problems on Sunday.

"As a result we've really concentrated on procedures and getting on top of any faults much earlier in the process."

With the BAR 2004 car only scheduled to be launched in February, Willis would not rule out starting next year with the concept car.

"The probability is that we'll take the new car to Melbourne but we will review the situation nearer the time."

BAR's novel approach would be entirely opposed to that of McLaren, who are already testing their definitive 2004 car. Next year will reveal whether either of these unusual ideas will help the teams take a leap forward.

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