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BAR to Begin Testing with Bernoldi in a 'Concept Car'

BAR-Honda will begin testing tomorrow at Barcelona with Brazilian test driver Enrique Bernoldi behind the wheel of a 'Concept Car' - a hybrid car that incorporates a 2004 chassis front end and a 2005 solutions back end.

BAR said they will run for three days with two cars - the concept car and a 2004 chassis. Bernoldi will run the hybrid 2005 test car on Wednesday and Thursday, and he will be replaced by Jenson Button on Friday. The Briton's teammate, Takuma Sato, will join the test on Friday and run the 2004 car.

"This week's programme at Barcelona is the start of our 2005 season," technical director Geoff Willis commented in a team statement today. "As was the case last year, the purpose of the 2005 Concept car is to evaluate the performance and reliability of our new Honda engine, the transmission and rear end systems.

"This time, many of the reliability-critical systems are exactly those which will be used for the 007 car. Whilst the 2004 chassis was extremely reliable, we want to improve. We are planning a further increase in testing, over and above the level of testing we ran in the winter of 2003 to 2004."

BAR said the concept car will feature a black and silver livery, similar to that used in pre-season testing last year. The car consists of the front section of the 006 and the rear end of the developing 007 which houses the 2005 specification Honda engine, new gearbox and rear suspension assembly.

"In addition to the chassis developments, 2005 will also see major changes to the aerodynamics package and to the tyres, which now have to last for a full race distance," Willis explained. "The 2005 Concept car will run in Barcelona using modified 006 aerodynamics designed to simulate the predicted 007 performance. The testing programme for the 2005 Concept car will cover performance and reliability testing as well as an extensive tyre test programme."

Willis added that "the new car design represents a sizeable improvement which will be needed to compete successfully in what will be an even more intense Championship next year."

Also commenting on the start of the winter testing programme, Honda Racing Development's engineering director, Shuhei Nakamoto, said: "After the months of hard work in design and testing, it's always an exciting feeling to see and hear a new engine on the track for the first time. The Concept car gives us a great chance to make the best use of winter testing as we begin the build-up to the 2005 season, and, as always, we're looking forward to the challenge."

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