BAR-Honda group managing director, Nick Fry talks about the 2003 Formula One season - the highs and lows and plans for next year...


Q:
Nick, what are your thoughts on how this season has gone?
Nick Fry:
This season is the first of a two-stage process to take us from the back half to the front rows of the grid. To do this we have had to redesign the way we work and almost every component of the car. We also have many new team members who needed time to settle in and work effectively. As such, problems were likely. We got off to a good start then lost a little bit of our momentum, but we caught back up later in the year. My heart says that this year has been disappointing, my head says that we need to be realistic and recognise that we are up against experienced, well-organised and tough competitors.
Q:
What has been the high point?
NF:
The high point was the first test of the BAR Honda 005 in Barcelona in January when it ran faster than the 004 had ever gone within a handful of laps.
Q:
And the low point?
NF:
Jenson [Button]'s accident in Monte Carlo - waiting to hear if he was okay and the subsequent downturn in our fortunes.
Q:
What are your aims for next year?
NF:
Our aim is to compete consistently with the 'top three' teams.
Q:
You are completing your first year with BAR. How have you enjoyed it so far?
NF:
Formula One is enjoyable in that we are working with top-level people in engineering and competing against the best. From our position at the beginning of 2002, it has been a tremendous challenge but we've now got a great team and it's been rewarding to see them 'gel', the relationship with Honda improve and our capability increase. Very enjoyable, very rewarding and very very hard work!
Q:
What's been your biggest learning curve or challenge this year?
NF:
After a promising start to the season, we drifted a little. The biggest challenge has been convincing ourselves that we were doing the right things, and that we just need to continue to work hard and it will all come good. Rome wasn't built in a day!
Q:
What has been the biggest challenge of applying your particular skills to Formula One?
NF:
Luckily my experience is broad-based so I'm reasonably well---equipped to deal with most situations. However, its always going to be a big challenge to pick up the pieces on a Sunday afternoon after a race; re-group, re-motivate and make the necessary changes to do it all again two weeks later. The pace of change is fast and relentless.
Q:
You are employed by Prodrive but do you work solely on the BAR project or across other areas of motorsport too? If so, what other roles do you fulfil?
NF:
I'm also Group Managing Director of Prodrive, but as many of the Prodrive projects are much more mature and have excellent operating teams and leaders, I'm able to spend the vast majority of my time at BAR.
Q:
What do you enjoy most about working with the team?
NF:
Bright, motivated people.
Q:
Once the season finishes what will the immediate focus be on and what will you be doing for the closed season?
NF:
We are already well-progressed on next year's car and, if anything, the pace and pressure will increase. There is really no close season, just a time of year when there is no racing.
Q:
If you had to some up this year in 5 words, what would they be?
NF:
Could do (will do) better.

 

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