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Heading to Monaco, it is hard to see where the Honda Team can muster much enthusiasm. Our recent test demonstrated small gains over the longer runs alongside a detour back into the familiar ground of shattered engines and palls of smoke. If nothing else all this walking is improving the fitness levels of the drivers and at Monaco fast legwork can be a requirement. Who can forget Jacques Villeneuve's mad dash for the garage and the spare car when Jenson lost it and caused a multiple pile up in his early days as a rookie driver.
It seems that Nick Fry is less than pleased over the success of Super Aguri in scoring their first point at Barcelona, being quoted as saying he hates the fact that the works cars have been beaten by what is effectively a "customer team". He further states that Super Aguri should not expect this success to continue as they are a relatively poorly funded team with limited resources.
Well there is an element of truth to that but it shouldn't be forgotten that a successful team is not just built around a mountain of cash backed up by sharp (or not so sharp) marketing hype.
Renault have just won a double back to back world championship whilst being funded to a level considerably below that of many other teams and the lesson is not how much you have, but knowing how and where to put that money to best use to construct a car that wins.
In Helios' opinion the Super Aguri management at Leafield will be more successful in that respect because quite simply having less makes you more focussed on getting it right. Combined with a hugely experienced management team with a passion for racing, they deserved that point and it probably won't be the last one this season either.
Not that the success hasn't caused a little tension between the teams. Honda employees on secondment have been a little 'bitey' of late to some of the good humoured digs received from their Super Aguri counterparts in the garage over the fact that the larger team is being beaten by its tiny sibling. Normally mick taking banter goes hand in hand with everything in F1, partly because of the characters involved and partly as a way of releasing the huge pressure that is placed on employees over the long hours we work. Lately there has been a bit of an edge to this humour between Honda and Super Aguri employees as its been realised that the little team is a real threat and the source of not a little embarrassment both in the boardroom and in the pub.
At the top end of the team, I'm sure that the reason Nick Fry "hates" the Super Aguri point so much is that it probably represents another nail in the coffin of his career as CEO of the Honda Racing F1 Team. One race each season can make such a difference. Last year Button's win undoubtedly saved Nick Fry for another year but maybe Barcelona 2007 and that one Super Aguri point will finish it.
The rumour in Brackley just now is that if the car isn't sorted by Silverstone, then Nick will be buying his own tickets to any races he wants to attend after that. Not that this would be likely as the boys here in Brackley have serious doubt whether he has enough interest or passion for racing to actually put his own money down for a ticket, but then again, that it a charge that could be levelled at many within the F1 paddock.
There is talk also that Nick believes he may be eligible for some award or even a knighthood for services to motorsport and the environment for his backing of the Myearthdream marketing exercise. Certainly with the sort of politicians we have these days anything's possible, if you fund it correctly or put the right spin on it.
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