JANUARY 29, 2008
The new Honda RA108
Honda Racing F1 has launched the new RA108 at its team headquarters in Brackley. The car is significantly different to the unsuccessful RA107 and also features an evolution of last year's livery, promoting the concept of "Earth Dreams" rather than "My earth dream". This will involve Honda making active donations to schemes that will improve the the lives of people around the world either by improving the environment in which they live or working to solve problems that have been created. This active kind of sponsorship is a new idea in F1 but Honda hopes will reflect well on the company, in addition to continuing the process of promoting the high technology image of Honda.
"There have been significant changes in the team," said chief executive Nick Fry. "We have adopted a philosophy of accelerated evolution to bring experience to the team. The design philosophy is completely different. We have tried to bring in experienced people in all the major disciplines and we have evolved the Earth Dream concept."
The new team principal Ross Brawn said that the problem last year was overly aggresssive downforce which made the car very sensitive to pitch and roll and so much work has gone into giving the drivers downforce that is more useable. The chassis has been slimmed down and the design has allowed for a lot of leeway in terms of development as the team is planmning a very aggressive programme from the base car that was presented.
"There are some quite dramatic changes to come," Brawn said.
The RA108 was run for the first time last week in Valencia with Rubens Barrichello driving and the test went well, according to Brawn.
"The main objective was to check out all the systems and reliability. We were very pleased. It had fewer problems than any car I've worked on in recent years."
Brawn said that the team wants to get back to "a respectable points scoring position" and build from there."
Barrichello, who this year will become the most experienced F1 driver of all time, beating Riccardo Patrese's longtime record of race starts. It is Rubens's 16th season in F1.
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