British American Racing hopes to challenge F1’s top teams with its Honda-powered 005, which was launched in Barcelona on Tuesday.

British American Racing hopes to challenge F1’s top teams with its Honda-powered 005, which was launched in Barcelona on Tuesday.

The new car, which will be driven by 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve and former Renault driver Jenson Button this season, was designed by ex-Williams aerodynamicist Geoff Willis.

Compared to the 004, the new BAR Honda 005 is significantly smaller, lighter, has a lower centre of gravity and is more aerodynamically efficient.

The BAR Honda 005 is constructed using an entirely different concept to the previous year's car, with new internal bulkheads making it substantially lighter, while maintaining the required design stiffness and meeting all FIA crash test requirements.

The new gearbox features aluminium investment-casting and Xtrac internals. The revised suspension layout is more compact with lay-down torsion springs. The number of parts used has been reduced by approximately 10 per cent, a team spokesman said.

Honda F1 project leader Takeo Kiuchi said that his company's all-new RA003E V10 engine would mark a significant step forward. The Japanese company promises more revs, more power and less weight for their 2003 campaign.

“Over the past three years we have had a difficult time since our return to F1 - we have not been satisfied with our performance and we want to do better," said Kiuchi.

"In 2003 we want to start the season competitively. The RA003E is more than 15 kg lighter than last year's engine; it revs to more than 19 000 r/min and the torque curve is improved, too. Our target is to get into a position to fight for the world title as soon as possible,” he added.

BAR team principal David Richards said: "2003 will be a challenging year for BAR, but we have made a substantial step forward over the winter. I am confident that we will make significant progress towards our long-term target of winning the world championship”.

The team will test at the Circuit de Catalunya until Friday.

For more on the new car click here.