2005 BAR-Honda logo

British American Racing

Address Brackley, Northants, NN13 7YY England
Team Principles Nicky Fry GBR (2005)
David Richards
GBR (2002 - 2004)
Craig Pollock GBR (1999-2001)
Designers Geoffrey Willis GBR (2003-2005)
Malcolm Oastler GBR (1999-2002)

Team History

Formed from the remnants of the Tyrrell team that was purchased in late 1997 by a consortium led by Craig Pollock (the long time manager of Jacques Villeneuve) and design guru Adrian Reynard with substantial backing from British American Tobacco Company.  After effectively running the Tyrrell team during the 1998 season, the management launched British American Racing for 1999 but quickly ran foul of the FIA when it tried to use an innovative "split down the middle" colour scheme on its cars with the "555" brand on one side and "Lucky Strike" on the other. After adopting a more conservative scheme the team embarked on an ineffective rookie season hampered by an injury to Riccardo Zonta in practice at Brazil - the team brought in Mika Salo to substitute for him at the following 3 races -  and reliability problems, many of which were caused by the aging SuperTec engines.

Original British American Racing logo

For 2000, however, a deal was signed with Honda when the company returned to F1 after several years absence.  After toying with the idea of building a complete car, the Japanese company decided to concentrate on engine development and agreed to a long-term deal with BAR. The season started well in Australia with both cars finishing in the points, but it was the second half of the calendar before more points were scored as once again reliability became a problem. At the end of the year Olivier Panis was signed to partner Jacques Villeneuve for 2001 but once again the team was unable to string together the reliability needed to consistently pick up points.

Financial problems for director Adrian Reynard's own racecar company and a power struggle within the management team created many distractions during 2001, which resulted in first Reynard and then Craig Pollack resigning from the team. Dave Richards, formerly of Benetton and the successful Prodrive-Subaru World Rally program was brought in to run the team at the end of 2001. The off track drama manifested itself in disastrous results during 2002, with Villeneuve's fourth place finish at the British GP being the only high spot.

"British American Racing" - Honda logo

After securing exclusive use of the Honda engine for 2003, Richards packed off veteran Panis to Toyota when given the chance to sign Jenson Button to a long-term contract, while also stating that the team could no longer afford to pay such a high salary to Villeneuve (at the time the second highest paid driver in F1). Negotiations with Villeneuve dragged on through the season but without resolution and the team announced before the end of the season that test driver (and Honda protégé) Takuma Sato would partner Button in 2004. Villeneuve then pulled out of the season ending Japanese GP saying he did not have the motivation to drive, leaving Sato to make an early debut.

The influence of Richards and his Prodrive organization saw a radical upswing in the teams fortunes during 2004 as Button led the team to second place in the Constructors Championship with 10 of the teams 11 podium finishes. This success led to Honda making a long-term investment in the team and purchasing a large shareholding, essentially turning it into a works team. Despite the financial and technical backing of the Japanese automaker 2005 was nothing short of a disaster for the team, with a major scandal erupting after the San Marino GP when the team was accused of cheating through the use of a false bottomed fuel cell, allowing the cars to run under the minimum allowed weight. The team was disqualified from the Imola race and banned for the next two Grand Prix, returning to action at the European round at the Nurburgring. It was midway through the season before the team scored a point! While Button put together a string of solid performances toward the end of the season, team-maate Takuma Sato scored only one point leading to the replacement of the popular Japanese in 2006.

The news of Sato's dismissal was not well received by the press and fans in Japan, despite the signing of proven winner Rubens Barrichello from Ferrari. In addition to taking over full ownership of BAR, Honda put its weight behind a second team, Super Aguri, primarily to create a drive for Sato. For 2006 and onward the team entered the championship as Honda F1.

Team Record

Year Chassis Engine Tyre # / Drivers Start Win Pole F Lap Pts Pos
1999 BAR01 SuperTec FB01 V10 BS 22 J Villeneuve
23 Zonta / Salo (3 races)
16 0 0 0 0 -


Year Chassis Engine Tyre # / Drivers Start Win Pole F Lap Pts Pos
2000 BAR002 Honda RA000E V10 BS 22 J Villeneuve
23 Zonta
17 0 0 0 20 5th
2001 BAR003 Honda RA001E V10 BS 9   J Villeneuve
10 Panis
TD Davidson
17 0 0 0 17 6th
2002 BAR004 Honda RA002E V10 BS 11 J Villeneuve
12 Panis
TD Davidson
17 0 0 0 7 8th
2003 BAR005 Honda RA003E V10 BS 16 J Villeneuve / Sato (1 race)
17 Button
TD Davidson
16 0 0 0 26 5th
2004 BAR006 Honda RA004E V10 MI 9   Button 
10 Sato
TD Davidson
18 0 1 0 119 2nd
2005 BAR007 Honda RA005E V10 MI Button 
4 Sato / Davidson (1 race)
TD Davidson
16 0 1 0 38 6th


117 0 2 0 227  


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