Honda upbeat for Silverstone after collecting first point at France

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The Honda Racing F1 Team heads to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone this week for the first of its two home races in the 2007 season. The British Grand Prix, held at the Silverstone circuit located just eight miles from the Brackley factory, is Round Nine of the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship.

On the back of a stronger showing at the French Grand Prix in Magny Cours last weekend, which resulted in the first points finish of the season, the whole team will be looking forward to Silverstone and the excitement of competing at a truly classic racing circuit, much enjoyed by the team’s drivers Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello.

Following the British Grand Prix, the Honda Racing F1 Team will be opening the doors of its Brackley factory to the public on Sunday 15 July for its very first Charity Open Day. This special ticket-only event will be hosted by team ambassador, Murray Walker, with Jenson Button as one of the many special guests.

Shuhei Nakamoto, Senior Technical Director “The race in Magny Cours last weekend marked a more positive step in the season for the Honda Racing F1 Team. Following much hard work back at the factory and in testing, we achieved our first point of the season. Jenson drove a good race, the pace of the car was very encouraging and our strategy paid off. We were a little worried about the levels of grip for Rubens but this situation improved by the end of the race. The French Grand Prix was a small step forward but a significant one for the whole team. We can now go to our first home race of the season at Silverstone with more confidence in our ability to challenge for points finishes this weekend and at future races.”

Jenson Button “The British Grand Prix is always special for a British driver and although we are a Japanese team, we are based just down the road from Silverstone in Brackley. We took a step forward with the performance of our car at the French Grand Prix last weekend, so we are now making progress and I hope that we can have a good race at Silverstone and be challenging for a point or two.

“I love this high-speed circuit with the very quick change of direction and there are great corners like Becketts and Stowe. It’s still a big challenge for F1 drivers today, especially parts like Becketts. It’s a very difficult complex and also one that reminds you how quick a Formula One car is and how special it is to be driving in F1. You can’t help but exit that complex with a big smile on your face! It still gives me and all the other drivers such a great buzz. There are some good overtaking possibilities and because it’s such a high-speed circuit, when they do happen it’s such a big move. Silverstone reminds me of the old days in racing in the 50s and 60s, when you didn’t have any slow corners, even though the last two corners are pretty slow. Silverstone is one of the best circuits in the world and for me it always will be.

“The whole weekend at Silverstone is special and you can’t underestimate the boost that a home crowd gives you. This year there are four British drivers to please the fans and that is just fantastic for British motor sport. You don’t perform any differently because that is down to the driver but you do get a buzz throughout the whole weekend - just driving through the gates every day, seeing all those flags in the grandstand and all the additional events we take part in. It’s such a special feeling in my heart because it’s my home; it’s where I’m from.”

Rubens Barrichello “The British Grand Prix at Silverstone is a big weekend for the Honda team so I’m pleased to be heading to our home base on the back of an improved performance at Magny Cours. We can definitely say that the performance of the car has improved which is encouraging. There is always a lot of expectation on our shoulders competing at Silverstone and although we don’t have the car to fight at the front, I think we can have a good race and aim for the points.

“We don’t tend to test much at Silverstone these days but it will always be one of my favourite tracks. It’s a high-speed circuit with some very challenging corners and one that I still really enjoy driving. I have some very special memories, not least of winning here back in 2003. It will be a busy weekend for us but an important one, so we will be giving it everything we can right now.”