||Honda F1, News, Jordan Specific, BAR Specific, Other, Motorsports
||December 06, 2002 11:55
||December 06, 2002 09:09
After an exciting and frustrating 2002 season, both BAR's and Jordan's race/test teams are taking a well deserved break while the teams at their factories prepare the 2003 challengers. For the coming season Honda will say a bittersweet goodbye to Jordan after two seasons of supplying engines to the Irish team. For the record, Honda scored a total of 28 points in two seasons with Jordan (19 in 2001 and 9 in 2002).
Jordan have secured an engine deal with Ford and will run with blue oval power next season. Jordan struggled through 2001 and early 2002 with constant reliability problems but, with lots of hard work, managed to solve this by the Austrian GP of 2002. After that, the team was able to settle down and race. Their major problem this season was severe lack of funding. This prevented them from making many improvements to the car in the last half of the season. However, no one can argue with their performance on a number of occasions (three fifth place finishes in a row during the middle of the season for Fisico)...least of all Takuma Sato's delightful 5th place at his first home GP in Suzuka! Well done Taku! :)
By contrast, BAR has scored a total of 23 points in the same period with two podiums coming to Jacques Villeneuve in 2001. 2002 saw the Brackley based team struggle with changes across the board. This began with the shock announcement on December 18, 2001: Craig Pollock being replaced by Dave Richards. Later, on or about March 6, 2002, Geoffrey Willis (formerly Cheif Aerodynamicist of Williams-BMW) joined the team under an unannounced position.
On March 21st, Andy Green (lead designer) and Malcolm Oastler (technical director) were both terminated from the BAR organization along with approximately 15% of the workforce. In their place, Geoffrey Willis was instated as the Technical Director. Up to this point, BAR had turned in very poor performances and terrible reliability.
G.W. immediately had all existing development projects tabled and ended while dedicating resources to cleaning up the BAR 004's reliability faults and redesigning the aero-shell of the 004. Thus began a slow process of improvement for BAR.
The first signs of progress began to manifest themselves at Imola, when Jacques finished 7th after a solid weekend of running. Jacques again came in 7th at Barcelona. The next race at Austria saw Jacques turn in a DNF on the last lap with an engine failure. It was an unfortunate result, as JV had been in contention for points before a drive-through penalty and his engine failure. Sadly, up to this point, Olivier hadn't even been able to finish a race! In fact Olivier would have to go all the way to the Canadian Grand Prix before he'd be able to finish!
The middle of the season saw dramatic steps for both Honda and BAR. At the Canadian GP we saw the debut of the new Willis-directed aerodynamics package for the BAR 004. No one should have been surprised that the new aero package looked very much like the FW23 and FW24 Williams cars, with which Willis had been heavily involved.
The first major step forward for Honda came in at the next race, the Nurburgring. The eagerly awaited release of their Step-2 engine was met with lukewarm results, with Olivier's 9th place finish being the best result. There was cause for optimism, however. BOTH teams had shown better pace and no engines failed during the race.
BAR finally broke their duck on July 7th at the Silverstone circuit in merry old England. Fighting through changeable conditions on race day with rain falling intermittently, they managed to come home in 4th and 5th places, netting a fantastic result after half a season of torturous near-misses and DNFs. This was a brief respite, however, as both BAR drivers retired at the next GP in France (one engine failure, one retired for safety concerns after collision).
Another double DNF faced BAR at the German GP, the site of yet another significant engine upgrade. Both BARs were looking VERY good through the race, unfortunately they were forced out with an engine failure and a transmission failure, respectively. This lead into the mid-season break. The next race, at Hungary, was disappointing for BAR. Olivier was able to finish in 12th place, while Jacques was forced out with transmission failure. Jordan were able to pull farther ahead in the constructor's championship that weekend with Fisichella's sixth placed result.
Spa saw the step-2.5 engine released by Honda. It arrived on scene in explosive fashion! Unfortunately, that meant they also scattered engine smoke all over the Ardennes throughout the weekend. Despite this dismaying and startling lack of reliability, it was a definite step forward in engine performance! :) Jacques managed to drive home to an 8th place finish at the famous circuit, the only other Honda finisher being Takuma in 11th place (should have been higher, but had a long pit stop).
Monza, the home of the Tifosi, saw BAR turn in a good performance all weekend and a further engine upgrade for qually by Honda. Starting from 16th place on the grid, Olivier was able to scrap ahead to net 1 point for 6th place. Jacques, unfortunately, was unable to match this pace as he was running too much wing on the car. This left him unable to slipstream other cars.
The teammates' fortunes were reversed at the US Grand Prix. Boosted by more power from Honda and better reliability, both cars ran strongly throughout the weekend with Jacques able to drive home to 6th place at the famous Brickyard Superspeedway! Being there, I can say that the Hondas DEFINITELY looked fast. Jacques was able to keep pace with the WILLIAMS of Juan Pablo Montoya throughout most of the race, although this was diminished by JV being on a two stop strategy to the Colombian's one-stop.
Suzuka saw Honda pull out all the stops, with the US Grand Prix qualifying engine being tapped for race duty and a near-supercritical engine being deployed for qualifying. Despite a number of engine blow-ups, rookie Takuma Sato was able to score a deuce for Jordan Honda. This secured Jordan in sixth place in the championship. BAR were unable to turn in another profitable performance, and suffered a double DNF with one engine failure and one un-specified drivability fault. The final rankings for the season were as follows:
01 FERRARI 221
02 WILLIAMS BMW 92
03 McLAREN MERCEDES 65
04 RENAULT 23
05 SAUBER PETRONAS 11
06 JORDAN HONDA 9
07 JAGUAR 8
08 BAR HONDA 7
09 MINARDI ASIATECH 2
10 TOYOTA 2
11 ARROWS COSWORTH 2 (Not sure if they'll be around next year, as they didn't bother to compete at the last six or seven GPs)
01 M.SCHUMACHER - (FERRARI) 144
02 R.BARRICHELLO - (FERRARI) 77
03 JP.MONTOYA - (WILLIAMS BMW) 50
04 R.SCHUMACHER - (WILLIAMS BMW) 42
05 D.COULTHARD - (McLAREN MERCEDES) 41
06 K.RAIKKONEN - (McLAREN MERCEDES) 24
07 J.BUTTON - (RENAULT) 14
08 J.TRULLI - (RENAULT) 9
09 E.IRVINE - (JAGUAR) 8
10 N.HEIDFELD - (SAUBER PETRONAS) 7
11 G.FISICHELLA - (JORDAN HONDA) 7
12 J.VILLENEUVE - (BAR HONDA) 4
13 F.MASSA - (SAUBER PETRONAS) 4
14 O.PANIS - (BAR HONDA) 3
15 T.SATO - (JORDAN HONDA) 2
16 M.WEBBER - (MINARDI ASIATECH) 2
17 M.SALO - (TOYOTA) 2
18 HH.FRENTZEN - (ARROWS COSWORTH) 2
P. DeLa Rosa