BAR waits for new parts

BAR's hopes of fighting for race victories from the start of this season appear to depend on a new revised aerodynamic package and improved engine parts lifting its pace after insiders told autosport.com that its new car was 'lacking' in performance

BAR waits for new parts

Although the new BAR007 has set some impressive testing times at Valencia in Spain this week, the team is understood to be secretly worried about both its overall speed compared to its rivals and its reliability after continued engine problems.

On long runs the car has been over-shadowed by the consistency and speed of Ferrari, McLaren and Renault, while its problems have been further compound by a worrying number of engine failures during recent testing. Enrique Bernoldi's spectacular blow-up at Valencia on Friday was its fifth such failure since the BAR007 began running.

One team insider admitted that there was some concern about the pace of the car. He told autosport.com: "The car is lacking in downforce and there is a basic lack of aerodynamic grip."

The team is publicly keeping a brave face on the situation but Takuma Sato did confess that there was a grip issue with the car - although he was quick to point out that rev-limits imposed to try and ensure longer engine life were affecting the team's ability to set quick lap times.

Speaking to autosport.com he said: "So far the car has been reliable and I have not had any problems. I have no problems with the balance of the car, the handling is okay, but some of the other cars are quicker.

"I know we have got a rev-limit on the engine and we have not made the best use of the tyres we have been given, but it is true to say that there is some grip missing - there is much less than we had hoped for."

Sato went on to claim that BAR's sudden realisation of the problems it is facing were put into the spotlight by the sensational long-distance pace of Renault's new R25 this week - and the ultra quick time Kimi Raikkonen put in on Thursday to break Valencia's unofficial lap record.

"When I saw the Renault time my jaw dropped and when I saw the McLaren it dropped even further," he added.

Despite the current concerns, however, it is hoped that a radically different aerodynamic package due to be introduced later this month and revised engine parts to overcome reliability issues can help put the team back on course for its target of race victories.

Honda's engineering director Shuhei Nakamoto confirmed that it was hoped the modified engine parts would be ready by next week's test at Jerez - especially because the team is still nowhere near exceeding the 1300km target engines must complete for two grands prix distances this season.

"At the moment we have not cleared the target (1300km) and we are waiting for the modifications next week," said Nakamoto. "We are hoping to have them in Jerez and we will see how we do with long runs there. But if we don't have them then, they will be for the test after that, where we will have the new aero kit."

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