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Formula 1U.K.December 8, 2004

Honda and Jenson Pick Up Top Awards In London

LONDON, United Kingdom, December 8, 2004 - Lucky Strike B·A·R Honda's status among the F1 elite was further emphasized at Sunday night's glittering Autosport Awards ceremony held at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Central London.

Jenson Button, Shoichi Tanaka, 2004 Autosport Awards

Honda's far-reaching commitment to motor racing over the last 40 years earned one of the evening's top lifetime achievement honors - the John Bolster Award. The company's recent successes in Formula 1 and victory in this year's Indy Racing League are only the latest triumphs against the backdrop of massive global successes in the past.

Shoichi Tanaka, president of Honda Racing Development, collected the coveted trophy from IRL champion Tony Kanaan. He said: "We can say that racing is at the very core of Honda. We love racing, we support two wheels and four wheels all over the world. We have two international racing circuits and we try to encourage the sport at all levels - so on behalf of the Honda Motor Company I am very honored to receive this prestigious award tonight. We have been very fortunate to work with great drivers and great teams over the last 40 years and many of them are here - so many that I cannot individually mention them. I want to thank them all on behalf of Honda."

Jenson Button underlined his status as Britain's most popular racing driver as he took the high-ranking International Racing Driver of the Year trophy voted for by the readers of Autosport magazine.

After being presented with the coveted trophy by former world champion Mika Hakkinen, Button said: "It is a strange situation because I didn't expect it all. It is very nice. I feel a little bit embarrassed holding it up because Michael won so many races this year and destroyed us in the championship but this trophy will mean something in the future when we are world champions It is not all down to me though. It is down to the team. We started testing in January and no-one expected us to be so quick, people thought we were running light, but we proved it with 11 podiums, second in the constructors' and me third in the drivers' championship. We are a top team."

Asked what winning a Grand Prix would mean, he added: "It is going to be very emotional, but I won't get caught up in it too much. A win is fantastic. It is most people's dream to win a race but the world championship is the aim. There is a lot of competition out there – Michael has been fantastic for so many years, but also Kimi and Montoya. If it happened in Melbourne it would be a special moment for everyone in the team. It is a great thing and we worked very hard for it - second in the constructors' championship and we are pushing for it. Of course Honda's on board now and everyone at B·A·R fully appreciates Honda's increased support and involvement going into 2005 and beyond."

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