Honda today unveiled their 2008 challenger, entitled the RA108 to continue the naming structure of their chassis. The car has been eagerly anticipated following their recent move to publicise Honda’s environmentally progressive attitude, which to a degree extends to their Formula One operation. The car is also important because it follows the disastrous RA107 that caused problems for Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello last year.
Honda have already shown the chassis to the world at the recent Valencia test where Barrichello and Button both put in a few laps, although the results appear to show little improvement. However, despite the obvious concerns the team are buoyed that the RA108 is a step forward, and combined with a new team boss – Ross Brawn – they are confident of moving forwards and scoring more points in 2008. The squad only managed six last year with Barrichello enduring his first point-less season in his Formula One career.
As you know last season was very difficult and disappointing year for us. But that is now behind us. At Honda we always ask people to challenge to the limit, the highest target, and never to fear making a mistake. Mistakes are natural things when you are targeting high, but I only accept that once.
The more important thing is to learn from mistakes we made and move forward. And that is the aim for this year. This year with some new faces and new ideas we must move forward. I am very pleased with the new steps that have been put in place.
This new car is a big evolution from last year and we also have evolution of the marketing concept as well. This year we hope to deliver the many Honda fans around the world with improved performance, as we follow our racing dreams. Yasuhiro Wada.
The team obviously had a very difficult year last year and they have had an extremely intelligent response to the problems we had. The difficulty with last year’s car was that it produced a lot of downforce but it was in a very aggressive way.
The focus on this car has been to make sure we produce the aero downforce in a more friendly way, a more usable way. We have also slimmed down the chassis, changed some of the layout for the car to give it more potential, particularly with aero development in the future, because it is going to be a very intensive season of development for us. Ross Brawn.
The livery has been revised as well and intergrates the traditional colours of Honda; red and white. The 2007 livery was, in some circles, considered innovative in that it contained little sponsorship decals, the team instead choosing to promote the myearthdream website where fans could make a pledge to reduce their carbon footprint and get their name on the car. This season’s car features more white and less earth, but continues the less is more philosophy from 2007.
Personally I think the livery is an improvement over last year’s, but the performance of the chassis is questionable. We won’t really know where Honda are until the Australian Grand Prix in March, but Brawn has stated that this season will be one of development and getting back to their 2006 pace.