The BAR Honda Formula One team has been awarded the 2004 Simms Medal by the Royal Automobile Club for the development of its carbon-fibre gearbox.

The award, named after the founder of the Royal Automobile Club Frederick Simms, is presented in recognition of 'a genuine contribution to motoring innovation by individuals or small companies that also exemplify the spirit of adventure'.

Although BAR Honda is not the first team to use a carbon fibre gearbox, it is the first to fully integrate the gearbox into the overall design of the rear end of the car, including a highly-refined cluster developed by BAR and its engine and chassis development partner Honda. The team has been judged by the RAC Motoring Technical Committee to be two years ahead of its competitors, with its strong results over the course of the season partly down to the developments that have taken place.

John Wood, managing director of MIRA and chairman of the technical committee believes that the BAR team has succeed where others have failed,

"Successful Formula One designs are frequently those in which the engineers have found new ways to exploit the latest technology in the search for the ideal," he said. "The need to get the mass where you want it is well understood and hence the desire to create the lightest possible gearbox structure. A number of teams have attempted carbon-fibre gearboxes but it is the small, dedicated team at BAR Honda who have actually achieved it and with considerable success."

BAR deputy technical director Gary Savage accepted the award for the team and admitted that everyone involved in winning the award was delighted.

"I am delighted to accept the Simms Medal on behalf of the BAR Honda F1 team," he said. "It has taken a year of research and development by a team of dedicated people to bring this current carbon fibre gearbox into existence. We are extremely proud of the performance and reliability of this year's car, the BAR Honda 006, and are currently working on an even smaller and lighter gearbox for 2005."