VTEC.net's Honda F1 Race Review - Canada GP
This race was fun and frustrating at the same time. BAR simply was not able to find speed on those straight-aways around the Villeneuve circuit. As a result, they were being passed over like last year's piece of fruitcake!! DHL Jordan Honda's two drivers, Giancarlo Fisichella and Takuma Sato, had a much more exciting race. Fisico was even reeling in the McLaren of Raikkonen in the last fifteen laps and might have put him under real pressure, if he'd had another ten laps of running time.
In the end, the Canadian fans were yet again left in disappointment for local man, Jacques Villeneuve. Jacques was, dismayingly, the first retirement of the race, on lap 8. Gauging from his comments and the comments from Nakamoto-san, his engine fell pray to the heat of day and the bushels of leaves that were covering the track around turns 8 and 9! It was amazing to watch pit stop after pit stop where pit crews pulled out a bucketful of leaves! It's no wonder there were a proportionally large number of engine-related DNFs today on the circuit.
Jacques - once again snake-bitten at his Home GP
That was really the only true negative for the Honda teams. Giancarlo Fisichella has scored a hat-trick (to quote Jordan's press release) of fifth place finishes, now that the hydraulics gremlins that crippled him earler have been cured! Sunday was definitely a superb showing from the Italian Icarus (who's destined to either fly or go down in flames).
All in a day's work for Fisi!!!
Takuma Sato has had trouble almost every race weekend with finding pace while, at the same time, staying ON the track. This weekend, he did a good job of staying on the track and managed to gain speed session by session! A great job by a recently discouraged rookie! He seems to have rebounded somewhat from his two major shunts in the last two Grands Prix and, hopefully, will continue to improve his performances over the coming weekends!
Solid drive from Taku lands him inside the top 10!
Olivier Panis was able, at least, to finish a race finally! Unfortunately he crossed the line in 7th place, out of the points, and losing ground to the 8th placed finisher, Felipe Massa (Sauber-Petronas). It was a definite improvement on his situation from earlier in the year, but it is clear that BAR have a LOT of work to do in order to find good aerodynamic downforce and eliminate drag. Bottom Line: good first showing for the BAR's revised bodywork (more detailed discussion on this for next weekend's European GP Prixview!), suspension, and transmission. I'm eagerly awaiting the second half of the season as we see what else BAR's reorganized tech staff are able to pull out of the hat!
Finally: Finis for Panis!
It's too bad for Honda that they had so many gremlins with the new engine in testing. It was heralded to be much more powerful and higher-revving than the Austria-spec, but apparently it developed a number of nagging problems upon being put into the cars in testing. Therefore, Honda decided it would be wiser to bring the Austria-spec engine over with a minor upgrade or two. Ultimately, the teams were still able to show good overall pace and reliability and I think this will be a turning point for all four drivers!
Until next race - Au Revoir!
Press Releases Below:
- Honda F1
- DHL Jordan-Honda
Honda F1 Race Release
Giancarlo Fisichella and DHL Jordan Honda recorded fifth place in today's Canadian Grand Prix while Olivier Panis crossed the line in eighth position, making it a triple top ten finish for the engine manufacturer as Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato finished in tenth place. Meanwhile BAR Honda's Jacques Villeneuve retired from the action on lap eight after the engine overheated and shut down.
Giancarlo Fisichella suffered a clutch problem at the start which cost him two places off the grid, the Jordan Honda driver remained in eighth place behind Sauber's Nick Heidfeld until lap 38 when he moved up into seventh position as Heidfeld pitted. Four laps later Fisichella gained another place following the pit stop of Ralf Schumacher. The Italian came into the pits on lap 45 for his one scheduled stop after opting for a long first stint.
He rejoined in sixth place and moved up into fifth spot when Juan Pablo Montoya retired from the race on lap 56. Fisichella continued his fine race form to gradually reel in the McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen, but ultimately had to settle for fifth position, just over five seconds adrift of the Finn, at the same time recording his third consecutive points scoring finish.
Takuma Sato lost one place off the line, but recovered quickly to move up into 14th position by the end of the second lap, just behind Salo. Four laps later Sato made up another place when he overtook Salo and then overtook Villeneuve for 12th position on lap eight. The Japanese driver took advantage of the safety car period to carry out his first of two pit stops on lap 14, rejoining the action in 19th place. By the 31st lap the Jordan Honda driver had moved up into 16th position, ahead of Minardi's Alex Yoong, Toyota's Mika Salo and the Arrows of Heinz Harald Frentzen.
He progressed another eight places by lap 45 as a number of drivers ahead of him pitted. Sato came in for his second scheduled pit stop on lap 46 from eighth position and rejoined in 13th place just behind Heidfeld. With three laps to go, Sato was in 10th position, following a stop-go penalty for Heidfeld and the retirements of Montoya and Jenson Button. He went on to cross the line in 10th place having progressed from 15th position on the grid.
BAR Honda's Jacques Villeneuve's race was short lived. He was running a heavy fuel load for a one stop strategy and having lost a couple of places at the start, he was overtaken by Mika Salo (Toyota) on lap six and Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato two laps later. He subsequently retired from the action on lap eight when the engine overheated and shut down.
"It's good to see three Honda-powered cars finish in the top ten. Giancarlo has once again driven a really strong race and secured his third points scoring finish in a row," said Shuhei Nakamoto, Race and Test Team Manager. "I think that Olivier and Takuma also deserve credit by racing to several places above their qualifying positions. It wasn't, however, so good for Jacques as I feel we let him down in front of his home fans when his engine overheated. I feel happy that we've made a little progress here so I hope we can maintain our momentum at the Nurburgring."
DHL Jordan-Honda Race Release
The DHL Jordan Honda team scored points for the third successive race in Montreal this afternoon after another strong performance by Giancarlo Fisichella. The Italian continued his points finishing record at the Gilles Villeneuve circuit after overcoming a clutch problem which cost him two places at the start to finish fifth, claiming two more points for himself and the team.
"Scoring two more points has made this another good day for us. The car was quite competitive, especially just before my pit stop," Giancarlo said. "We had good balance overall and I was even quicker than Raikkonen at the end, but I preferred keeping fifth position to the risk of trying to catch and pass him. I have always been very confident at this circuit and today our hard work of finding the right balance and downforce level has paid off."
Despite getting off to a poor start and losing ground, teammate Takuma Sato put in an early charge to make up several positions, however he was struggling with oversteer for much of the race. The Japanese rookie persevered to deliver a strong drive to finish in the top ten.
"I'm pleased to bring the car home and I would like to congratulate Giancarlo on scoring two points. I had a difficult start, losing a position at the first corner but later I really enjoyed overtaking the BAR and the Jaguar," he said. "We took the opportunity to pit when the safety car came out, but my second set of tyres didn't behave quite the same as the first set and I lost almost a second a lap, struggling with oversteer. The last stint was okay and I was in good shape to push very hard. It's reassuring to know that we have consistent reliability and now I'm looking forward because although tenth isn't bad, I hope to score points soon."
"A fantastic result, we did a great job all weekend, and Giancarlo was super today. He had a small problem with the clutch at the beginning but then he drove really hard," added team boss Eddie Jordan. "It's good to see Takuma finish in the top ten and encouraging to have our third points finish in three races. The team has worked so hard and this result was earned. It shows we are going in the right direction and that we are closing the gap on Sauber and Renault in the Championship."
BAR-Honda Race Release
BAR Honda driver Olivier Panis finally finished a race this season when he crossed the finish line in eighth place at the Canadian Grand Prix. The French driver didn't have a very good start, losing a position off the grid and by lap 10 had fallen back to 15th place after being overtaken by the two-stopping Toyota of Mika Salo, Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato, Sauber's Felipe Massa and the Arrows of Enrique Bernoldi.
In the course of his rivals first set of pit stops, Olivier made good progress and moved up to the ninth spot by lap 40, the Frenchman coming in for his own scheduled pit stop on lap 41, rejoining the action in 12th position. In the course of the second set of pit stops the BAR Honda driver made his way up into eighth place, and benefited from Montoya's exit on lap 56. Although he fought hard, Panis couldn't close the gap between himself and Ralf Schumacher to less than 30 seconds, and went on to finish the race in eighth position from 11th on the grid.
"I'm relieved to finally finish a race after such a bad start to my season. It was very tough today but the car was reliable and I think we chose the right strategy for us," Olivier said. "I was obviously running heavy at the start so I lost some places to some two-stoppers. It would have been nicer to get a point for the team but I'm pleased to see the progress we have made this weekend. I want to thank the team for the effort they put into this race. We know where we are with the new car now so we have to keep pushing and continue to improve so we can get both cars to the finish."
Although the team took comfort from Olivier's' first race finish of the season and the first signs of improvement with the new evolution of the BAR004, teammate Jacques Villeneuve's home race was short lived. The Canadian driver was running a heavy fuel load for a one stop strategy and having lost a couple of places at the start, he was overtaken by Mika Salo on lap six and Takuma Sato two laps later. He subsequently retired from the action on lap eight when the engine overheated and shut down.
"Obviously I'm disappointed not to finish my home Grand Prix again, especially just 8 laps into the race," Jacques said. "We were running heavy for a one- stop strategy so I lost places at the beginning. Then we had the first signs of a loss of oil pressure and a couple of laps later the engine stopped. It's frustrating to have such a bad race after the improvement we saw in qualifying."
"On the positive side, it was good to get Olivier to the finish for the first time this year so well done to the team for their efforts," added Geoffrey Willis, Technical Director. "It is obviously disappointing that Jacques wasn't able to finish his home Grand Prix once again and we still haven't been able to secure our first points. I'm pleased that we have seen some improvement with the new car but we still have a lot of work ahead of us."
"A mixed weekend but on the whole it is encouraging to see that all the new modifications to the car appear to have moved us in the right direction," concluded team boss Dave Richards. "It's good to see Olivier take the chequered flag but disappointing for Jacques to retire in front of his home crowd. I'm confident that we can now improve our performance still further given the progress we've made this weekend. With Honda's new engine just around the corner, we should soon have all the ingredients we need to regularly challenge for points."
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