BAR's new wind tunnel

Honda is to build a full-size, £26.8million, wind tunnel at BAR's Brackley base, Autosport magazine reveals exclusively this week. The move is part of an all-out world championship push by the team, with the 2006 season targeted for its first title

BAR's new wind tunnel

The revelation comes hot on the heels of last week's buy-in to the team by Honda, which now has a 45 per cent stake and brings the Japanese company's 2005 investment in the team up to £150million, in addition to the estimated £100million it already spends on engine development.

Honda is expected to move to acquire full ownership of the team from British American Tobacco in the next couple of years. BAT is keen to sell because of the up-coming introduction of further stringent laws against tobacco advertising in Europe.

BAR is forging ahead on other technical fronts too, all in close cooperation with Honda. Its all-carbon gearbox with lightweight internals is a case in point.

"There's now a significant degree of cross-development," explained BAR technical director Geoff Willis. "Last year we were the first team to design a car around a carbon gearbox, and next year we will take the concept further. The packaging is really tight around the car's back-end. The new 'box is a lot lighter and easier to assemble; better integrated altogether."

Honda Racing Development vice president Otmar Szafnauer commented: "We have specifically targeted 2006 as the year in which we want to win the world championship. We fully intend to win a number of races next season and the increased investment together with a closer technical collaboration is a reflection of that.

"It's accepted that aerodynamics is one of the most vital performance areas for F1, which is why we took the decision to commission this project."

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