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Honda Racing F1 Team’s Welcome Return in Japan

The Honda Racing F1 Team is looking forward to their second home race of the season with the 2007 Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji International Speedway, Round 15 of the FIA Formula One World Championship. The event will mark the team’s welcome return to Japan next week.

The Honda team has always managed to perform well in every Japanese Grand Prix. Button said, “The Japanese Grand Prix is always a very special weekend for the whole Honda Racing F1 Team as it is one of our two home races of the year. I have had fantastic support as a Honda driver at the Honda-owned Suzuka circuit in the past few years and the Japanese fans always create such a special atmosphere over the race weekend.”

However, this year would be more challenging as the race moved from its traditional Honda-owned home of Suzuka towards the newly re-opened Fuji International Speedway. Button said, “This year will be a new challenge for both myself and the team as the race returns to the Fuji International Speedway.”

While Barrichello said, “I am really looking forward to returning to Japan in my second year with Honda for our home race. The Japanese Grand Prix has always been a favourite of mine and the Suzuka circuit holds some very special memories as I won there from pole position in 2003. My experience last year driving with Honda for the first time was fantastic. The fans are so enthusiastic and really supported us throughout the weekend.”

Before moving to Fuji, the Honda Racing F1 Team is planning to stop in Odaiba. They would be attending to the annual Tokyo Motorsports Festival. In the event, Jenson Button and James Rossiter will demonstrate the thrills of Formula One to a crowd of fans through running the RA107 car in the streets of the city. Button said, “On the Monday before the race, I will be taking part in the Tokyo Motorsports Festival once again. This is a fantastic event and I had a great time last year driving our F1 car right in the heart of Tokyo in front of all the Honda fans so I am really looking forward to arriving in Japan this weekend and getting the fun started.”

According to Senior Technical Director Shuhei Nakamoto, “This will be the first time that Formula One has visited the new Fuji International Speedway.” In relation to that, they opt to give importance with the little time left for them to practice, as he added, “We have limited date on the circuit which makes the practice sessions on Friday and Saturday even more important.” While Barrichello said, “This year Formula One is returning to the Fuji International Speedyway for the first time since 1977. I last raced at Fuji in 1991 in Formula 3 but the circuit has been totally modernized since those days. It will be very exciting to race on the new layout and I am sure that the organizers will have done an excellent job with improving the existing circuit.”

Nakamoto also said, “The downforce levels required will be very similar to the last race at Spa-Francorchamps so we are prepared for a challenging weekend. Following the three-day test in Jerez this week, we have confirmed our car set-up and earo package for the race. We would like to put on the best possible performance for the Honda fans at our home race in Japan and achieve a satisfactory result,” holding on with the belief that their team have enough experience and preparation to get their race car, with sophisticated Honda spoiler, through the redesigned Fuji International Speedway circuit and obtain good results.

“The Fuji circuit is an unknown quantity so I will be studying the circuit layout with our engineers in advance of the race but we will only find out its true characteristics during our track walk on Thursday and the first few laps of practice on Friday. The re-designed circuit is another Herman Tilke special, and after the fantastic job that he did with Istanbul Park, it will be interesting to see how this circuit matches up. There is a long 1.5km start-finish straight which should allow for some overtaking combined with some exciting looking twists and turns,” Button said.

Button, together with Barrichello, is expected to give the best performance in the race despite having a quite crucial race this year. He said, “We are the first to admit that Honda have had a tough season this year, however we approach the final races of the season with continued motivation and will not stop pushing to take the maximum possible performance for the thousands of Honda fans who will be cheering us on from the stands.” And, Barrichello said, “Our car and performance this year has not been at the level we hoped for at the beginning of the season, however a lot of hard work is still going on back at the factory to improve our situation. We will all keep working very hard right to the end of the season and I hope to see further small improvements in our performance which will help us this season and in 2008.”

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