First shots of BAR livery

BAR-Honda will run Anthony Davidson's car in British American Tobacco's 555 branding during Friday's free practice sessions for the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai. BAR is one of several teams to change its livery for F1's first visit to the world's most populated country

First shots of BAR livery

All three BAR drivers Jenson Button, Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson will run in 555-liveried race suits as British American Tobacco seeks to take advantage of China's potentially huge market, but only the team's test driver will drive a blue car.

China is estimated to represent one-third of the world's total smoking population.

"Everybody commercially is looking at the Far East, the growth in China and potential markets out there," said BAR team principal David Richards. "It certainly broadens our horizons as a sport."

Although it was a sponsor of the Subaru World Rally team for several years, the 555 brand has recently appeared in F1 only once before, in 1999, when BAR entered F1. The team had wanted Jacques Villeneuve's car to be branded in Lucky Strike, and Ricardo Zonta's in 555 but F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone would not allow two cars from the same team to run in separate liveries. BAR's 001 challenger thus appeared in split livery for the season.

BAR is not the only team to be taking advantage of the commercial opportunity. Cars from WilliamsF1, Renault and Jordan are all expected to appear with Chinese lettering in their liveries.

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