British American Racing
|Full Name||British American Racing|
|Base||Brackley, United Kingdom|
|Team Principal(s)|| 1999-2001|
|Technical Director|| 1999-2001 |
|Noted Former Drivers|
| Jacques Villeneuve
Pedro de la Rosa
British American Racing, commonly shortened to BAR was a Formula One constructor which competed from 1999 until 2006. The team was formed as the result of a management buyout of the now-defunct Tyrrell team by tobacco company BAT in 1998, although only the championship entry was kept from the previous incarnation, with all new facilities in Brackley being built, then-technical director Harvey Posthelwaite moving to a stillborn Honda project and Ken Tyrrell departing in disgust at the new management's driver decisions in 1998, having already lost a controlling interest in the team.
After several seasons of massively over-promising (Team Principal Craig Pollock believed it possible to score a maiden win in their first race) and underperforming, leading to management turmoil in the early years of the team, the British squad managed to achieve some degree of success in its final seasons before being bought out successively to become first Honda, then Brawn and finally Mercedes, with these incarnations being linked by a common use of BAR's Brackley headquarters.
Prior to the 1999 season, BAR made several headlines; first signing 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve, unveiling the questionable slogan "A Tradition of Excellence" (confusing as they were a new outfit), and then boasting that they would win their first race and fight for the championship from the off (an assumption derived from the fact that all of designer Adrian Reynard's previous debut chassis managed this feat in feeder categories). However, it did not take long for things to go awry: firstly the FIA vetoed a plan by sponsors BAT to run two distinct liveries on the two cars (Lucky Strike on Villeneuve's, 555 Express on Jones'), this being clearly being against the sport's regulations, forcing the team to compromise with an infamous "split" livery, with half of each design separated by a zip pattern in the middle of the car. On the track, things weren't much better for BAR as the season went on; while the car could qualify mid-grid (an improvement over the Tyrrell 026 it replaced), reliability was atrocious even compared to the Tyrrell the year before- the 01 chassis only made it to the finish nine times throughout the year, with the Japanese GP being the only double finish for the team all year. The car also lacked race pace, meaning that when it did finish, it was never in the points, and as a result the team ended it first year in tenth place in the WCC, a place higher than 1998 but behind much smaller outfits such as Minardi, and only ahead of fellow non-scorers Lola (who collapsed at the end of the year) on countback thanks to a ninth place finish from Sammy Jones, who for the most part outperformed team leader Jacques Villeneuve.
For 2000, BAR would keep their 1999 driver pairing of Villeneuve and Jones, but the team's 002 chassis, which were designed to be more durable than the 01s, would have new engines powering them- in the off-season, Craig Pollock had brokered a deal to gain an exclusive works deal with Honda for 2000, the Japanese firm's first official foray into F1 since 1992. The team also made an effort to limit excessive press interaction during the pre-season, which had proved to be highly embarrassing in 1999 and had not endeared them to the public or the FIA. To the relief of BAT management, 2000 proved to be a massive improvement for the team, with 16 points being scored over the year to claim sixth in the Constructor's championship, with Sammy Jones scoring the team's first podium in Malaysia, the Englishman outscoring Villeneuve by four points.
Going into 2001, BAR would again retain Jones and Villeneuve along with the Honda engines, although the team would no longer have an exclusive supply, being joined by the more competitive Jordan team. New for 2001 were Michelin tyres, in an attempt to gain a performance advantage in a tight midfield, joining Mclaren, Arrows and Prost on the new rubber. The season started strongly with a double points finish at the Australian Grand Prix, but over the first half of the season the team struggled to compete with Jordan and Sauber, not finishing in the top 6 anywhere near as consistently, although the 003 chassis was more reliable than the previous year's. However, the team's competitiveness picked up in the second half of the year, allowing Sammy Jones to take the team's first win in Germany (with Villeneuve finishing third behind, his first podium since 1998) and for the team to overhaul the fading Jordan team for fifth in the championship, albeit on countback.
During the off-season, BAR experienced a major restructuring resulting in David Richards' Prodrive company taking over running of the team, and the dismissal of both team principal Craig Pollock and technical director Malcolm Oastler, with Geoff Willis poached from Williams to take over as technical director, though he arrived too late to work on the 004 chassis. There was change on the driver front also- while team leader Sammy Jones was retained after an extremely fruitful 2001, the underperforming Pollock-managed Jacques Villeneuve would be replaced by the team's long-time test driver, Justin Wilson, forming an all-British lineup for 2002.
Due to the team's last minute overhaul of technical staff, the design and development of the 004 chassis suffered and as the season went on, it proved to be an ill-handling, unreliable design compared to the 003, resulting in a major slump in form for BAR in 2002; the team only scored three times over the year, and only managed a single podium when Wilson finished third in France, to end the year seventh in the constructors' championship with only nine points, having been narrowly beaten by fellow Honda runners Jordan. By the end of the year, all resources were being piled into the development of the 2003 car, a clean-sheet design constructed at BAR's own facilities, rather than at Reynard as had previously been the case.
After the relative catastrophe of 2003, BAR started 2003 with an all-new, 005 chassis penned by Geoff Willis and a revised driver lineup, with team stalwart Sammy Jones losing his patience with BAR after 2002 and jumping ship to Jordan, leaving Justin Wilson as de-facto team leader. To drive the second car, BAR management took a gamble on former Ferrari driver Pedro de la Rosa, who had not raced in Formula One since early 2002 after being fired by Jaguar, and hadn't scored a point since 2000, the team aiming to rediscover his race-winning form seen at Arrows and Ferrari.
Unfortunately, BAR continued to decline in 2003, with the 005 not having the pace to compete with the frontrunners, with Wilson and de la Rosa resigned to the lower depths of the points, with the season being the first since 1999 for BAR to fail to score a podium- indeed the team were helped immensely by the extension of the points-scoring places down to eighth, as they managed just two top 6 finishes all year. There was also further unrest in the driver lineup, with Justin Wilson leaving the team mid-season to join Sauber, being replaced by the team's reserve driver Anthony Davidson, who provided the one highlight to BAR's year with a fourth place in the USA. De la Rosa would also fail to last out the season, underwhelming compared to both of his teammates, and as a result being benched for the final round in Japan in favour of Honda engine tester and former Jordan driver Takuma Sato, who finished a fine sixth for the team.
After the turmoil and disappointment of the season, it was perhaps a relief for the team to end the year seventh the championship, with twenty points (albeit only 4 points under the previous year's points system) ahead of rivals Sauber and Jordan, but behind Jaguar.
BAR would enter 2004 with driver continuity for the first time in many seasons, with the team retaining their more successful, but inexperienced late-2003 lineup of Davidson and Sato to drive the heavily revised 006 chassis. Honda had also stepped up its involvement with the team, buying a 45% stake in BAR and providing an exclusive supply of works Honda engines, the ailing Jordan team having been dropped by the Japanese manufacturer.
The 006 proved just the car that BAR needed, with them having their most successful season in the history of the team, finishing 3rd in the constructor's championship - with the team managing to rack up 2 podiums, at Australia and at Japan.
BAR would keep the same successful driver lineup from 2004, with Sato and Davidson driving the new 007. However, the new car was certainly a step down from 2004, with the team having a worse season. The team's momentum would firstly be hindered by Sato's illness before the Malaysian Grand Prix, being replaced by test driver Jean-Maxime Bachot, who would qualify in an impressive 6th place, though would end up finishing the race in 12th. Then at the San Marino Grand Prix, the team were disqualified and banned from the next 2 races for having an illegal fuel tank which allowed them to run under the weight limit. Afterwards, although Sato was able to get up to speed again, eventually taking a podium at his home race, Davidson could not do the same, being demoted to a testing role alongside Bachot at the end of the year, and the team ended the year in 6th place, in front of the team's main rivals, Red Bull and Sauber, though they had dropped several places, before engine supplier Honda bought the team outright during the off-season in preparation for 2006.
Complete Motorsports Results
Complete Formula One World championship Results
|1999||BAR 01||Supertec FB01 3.0 V10||AUS||BRA||SMR||ESP||MON||CAN||FRA||GBR||AUT||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||MAL||JPN||POR||0||—|
|2000||BAR 002||Honda RA000E 3.0 V10||AUS||BRA||SMR||FRA||ESP||EUR||MON||CAN||GBR||AUT||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||JPN||MAL||USA||POR||16||6th|
|2001||BAR 003||Honda RA001E 3.0 V10||AUS||MAL||BRA||SMR||ESP||AUT||MON||CAN||EUR||GBR||FRA||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||USA||JPN||24||5th|
|2002||BAR 004||Honda RA002E 3.0 V10||AUS||MAL||SMR||ESP||AUT||MON||CAN||EUR||FRA||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||BRA||USA||JPN||9||7th|
|2003||BAR 005||Honda RA003E 3.0 V10||AUS||MAL||SMR||ESP||AUT||MON||CAN||GBR||EUR||GER||HUN||ITA||BEL||BRA||USA||JPN||18||7th|
|15||Pedro De La Rosa||14||Ret||8||Ret||13||Ret||Ret||7||7||Ret||Ret||DNA||9||14||9|
|2004||BAR 006||Honda RA004E 3.0 V10||AUS||MAL||BHR||MON||CAN||USA||CHN||BRA||ARG||KOR||JPN||49||3rd|
|2005||BAR 007||Honda RA005E 3.0 V10||AUS||MAL||BHR||SMR||ESP||MON||EUR||CAN||USA||FRA||GBR||GER||HUN||TUR||ITA||BEL||BRA||URU||JPN||CHN||28||6th|