BAR Honda will introduce its '05 Concept car this week at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona as winter testing get underway following the four week testing ban.

The Concept car, in the distinctive black and silver livery introduced for the first time last year, will run for the duration of the three-day test.

BAR's intensive testing programme in November and December will be a crucial step in the evaluation of new technologies before the launch of the BAR Honda 007 in January 2005.

The '05 Concept car is designed to manage the transition from one car to the next by testing certain components and innovations, without having to commit to a whole new chassis design for winter testing. The car essentially consists of the front section of the 006 and the rear end of the developing 007 which houses the 2005 specification Honda engine, new gearbox and rear suspension assembly.

The team will run two cars during the three-day test programme, the key objectives of which will be to evaluate the performance and reliability of the Concept car and continue development in line with the 2005 regulations. Test driver Enrique Bernoldi will be the first to drive the '05 Concept car on Wednesday and Thursday followed by Jenson Button on Friday. Takuma Sato will join the test on Friday at the wheel of this year's BAR Honda 006 with a 2005 aerodynamic and tyre package.

"This week's programme at Barcelona is the start of our 2005 season," said BAR technical director, Geoff Willis. "As was the case last year, the purpose of the '05 Concept car is to evaluate the performance and reliability of our new Honda engine, the transmission and rear end systems. This time, many of the reliability-critical systems are exactly those which will be used for the 007 car. Whilst the 2004 chassis was extremely reliable, we want to improve. We are planning a further increase in testing, over and above the level of testing we ran in the winter of 2003 to 2004.

"In addition to the chassis developments, 2005 will also see major changes to the aerodynamics package and to the tyres, which now have to last for a full race distance. The '05 Concept car will run in Barcelona using modified 006 aerodynamics designed to simulate the predicted 007 performance. The testing programme for the '05 Concept car will cover performance and reliability testing as well as an extensive tyre test programme.

"After achieving second place in the Constructors' Championship this year, the team is determined to repeat its success in 2005. The new car design represents a sizeable improvement which will be needed to compete successfully in what will be an even more intense Championship next year."

Commenting on the start of the winter testing programme, Shuhei Nakamoto, engineering director for Honda Racing Development, added: "After the months of hard work in design and testing, it's always an exciting feeling to see and hear a new engine on the track for the first time. The Concept car gives us a great chance to make the best use of winter testing as we begin the build-up to the 2005 season, and, as always, we're looking forward to the challenge."