Formula One World Championship 2008
January 29, 2008 - Honda Motor Co., Ltd. announced that it will continue its participation in the Formula One World Championship again this year, as the Honda Racing F1 Team. Honda will also provide the SUPER AGURI F1 TEAM with engines, parts, and support as a technical partner.
As part of the team’s commitment to the development of young motorsport talent, the two GP2 drivers were invited to take part in a Young Driver Program evaluation in November and December last year. Each driver had the opportunity to drive the 2007 Honda race car as the team took a closer look at their potential to assist with future testing requirements.
Under the new sporting regulations for 2008, the team has a number of Young Driver evaluation days which will be used to allow Luca and Mike to develop their skills in the car and assist the team with its testing requirements, in conjunction with their racing activities in the GP2 series.
Luca Filippi, 22, is currently racing with Meritus in the GP2 Asia series and in 2008 will be competing with ART Grand Prix for his third year in GP2. Luca finished in 4th position in the 2007 GP2 championship with Super Nova International. He began his racing career in his home country of Italy, winning the Italian Formula 3000 championship in 2005 before graduating to GP2.
Mike Conway, 24, was Luca’s team-mate at Super Nova International last year, and has been part of the Honda Young Driver Program since March 2007. After his debut season in GP2 last year, Mike will race for Trident Racing this year. Prior to GP2, Mike won the British Formula 3 championship and the Macau Grand Prix in the 2006 season, in addition to winning the Formula Renault UK title in 2004. Mike was also given the opportunity to be evaluated in the all-new RA108 during its initial shakedown in Valencia last week.
To reflect Honda’s increasing involvement in motor sport and its commitment to supporting emerging motorsport talent, the Honda Racing F1 Team also confirmed that it will reward the winner of the 2008 Formula Master series with a drive in its RA108 race car in the future. A junior racing formulae, Formula Master runs alongside the FIA World Touring Car Championship for eight European based rounds.
Ron Meadows, Sporting Director for the Honda Racing F1 Team with responsibility for Honda’s Young Driver Program, commented, “We are very pleased to confirm today that Mike and Luca form our Young Driver line-up in 2008. Both drivers greatly impressed us with their performance and commitment in the tests at the end of last year and, after a thorough evaluation, we have decided to reward them with the opportunity to work closely with the team this season. In addition, we have today announced our new partnership with the Formula Master series and the opportunity for their champion to spend a day with the team. Honda takes its commitment to developing promising young talent in motor sport very seriously and we look forward to working closely with these young drivers and helping them to progress to the very highest levels of our sport.”
Mike Conway commented, “I am really pleased to be continuing my association with the Honda Racing F1 Team and very much looking forward to this year. I have already learnt so much from working with the team and it will be very rewarding to be able to contribute to the development of the car this year. I drove the RA108 in Valencia last Friday which was fantastic so I’m looking forward to the next opportunity.”
Luca Filippi said, “It is a great opportunity for me to be a part of the Honda Young Driver Program and I am really looking forward to working with the team this year. I am hoping to learn a great deal from the team’s engineers and drivers, which will help not only in driving the F1 car but also for my racing in the GP2 series. I would like to thank the Honda Racing F1 Team for their faith in me and I’m looking forward to my chance to drive the RA108.”