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Last Updated: Wednesday, 09, March, 2005, 14:35

BAR bosses have admitted that the Brackley team underperformed in last weekend’s Australian GP – and that its new 007 chassis is the source of the problem.

Neither Jenson Button nor Takuma Sato was a factor throughout the weekend. Both qualified deep in the field and were running outside the points when BAR elected to retire them from the race to allow a penalty-free engine change before the next race in Malaysia.

To say the least, it was not the start to the season that the team had hoped for, especially after finishing second only to Ferrari in the constructors’ championship last year.

It would appear that the car’s principal shortcoming is a lack of downforce, a theory supported by the low wear rates of its Michelin tyres compared to other teams on the French company’s rubber.

Team boss Nick Fry told Autosport: “We clearly have a problem and we believe it’s aerodynamic. Jenson was able to get close to people but couldn’t find enough grip to pass.

“It’s disappointing that we were not able to take advantage of Ferrari having one of their less good days.”

Suspecting that Albert Park might be one of its weaker tracks (as it was in 2004) the team experimented with a revised front wing in an effort to find the elusive downforce – to no avail.

Technical director Geoff Willis said: “The wing we raced here wasn’t what we had on the car at the launch, although we tried both during the weekend.

“We have already made three developments of wing and there will be another before the Malaysian Grand Prix.

“Fine-tuning the car is very important, not just for downforce, but also for adjusting the car’s characteristics. We need to do more track running to identify what the car’s particular characteristics are.”

BAR will continue development work on the 007 in testing at Jerez this week.
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