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Formula 1 December 3, 2004

B·A·R Invests In Future Talent With Young Driver Program


Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda's first stage winners of the Young Driver Program have joined the team at Jerez testing this week. Hopefuls from various junior formulae have been put through their paces in a scheme which the team put into action at the end of the 2004 season.



James Rossiter


The two-year program is the first time that B·A·R has developed a structured initiative to evaluate the wealth of young talent currently vying for the attention of the top Formula One teams. Nine drivers took part in a three-day assessment at B·A·R's Operations Centre during mid November. The group took part in a series of activities specifically designed to measure their current physical, mental and driving abilities, as well as their capacity for future development. The results were evaluated by a team of experts to determine those drivers with the most potential to benefit and develop from the two-year program.

The three successful drivers from the initial selection process are British F3 2004 runner-up Adam Carroll, third-placed British F3 2004 driver James Rossiter and the 2003 British F3 champion, Alan van der Merwe. They have spent the last two weeks working closely with Senior Race Engineer Jock Clear to prepare them for the Jerez test, where they have had the opportunity to drive this year's B·A·R Honda 006.

Clear, who is heading up the team working on the program, commented: "The Young Driver initiative which we are putting into place at B·A·R is the result of a considerable period of careful planning and research. We have been working with the best in the business in terms of sports psychology, fitness and motivation, added to which is the input from B·A·R's engineering experts. The investment from the team has been substantial and so far we are pleased with the results seen and the commitment of all the drivers who have participated.

"We have a wealth of talent at B·A·R already, with race drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato, plus third driver Anthony Davidson and test driver Enrique Bernoldi. It is important to understand that this initiative is not about finding an immediate understudy to Jenson or Takuma. It is about developing the talent of the future on a structured two-year program which will hopefully prepare them for the unique challenge of Formula One. The jump from the junior formulae is huge, however by guiding and supporting these drivers, we hope the long-term benefit will see them make the grade with B·A·R in the future."

The three drivers each have two half-day sessions in the car at Jerez. They are experiencing the workings of a full F1 test as Takuma Sato and Enrique Bernoldi are also in attendance, working on the development of the 2005 car. The team will be looking for the driver who has the most potential to develop over the next 24 months. Whilst raw speed is important, so too is the enthusiasm to listen and learn, the motivation and commitment to improve and the intelligence to make the most of the opportunity that B·A·R is providing. The Young Driver Program is about nurturing talent and giving the drivers the support needed to make it to the very top of motor sport.


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