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B·A·R Honda concluded a challenging season with its 10th successive points finish today as Jenson Button crossed the line in 8th position at the end of an action-packed Chinese Grand Prix. For Takuma Sato, racing for the final time for B·A·R Honda, his swan-song was brought to an early conclusion by gearbox failure after 34 laps.
Jenson's race start lost him a place off the grid but the car performed well in the first stint before a problematic first outing for the safety car lost him three places in the running order. Takuma was deemed to have jumped the start and was given a drive-through penalty, which relegated him to the back of the pack. During running under the first safety car he experienced some gearbox problems and these got progressively worse before he was forced to retire. Under the second safety car, Jenson was held up by a car that slowed unnecessarily before entering the pits and further time was lost.
At the end of a thrilling climax to the 2005 season, B·A·R Honda lies 6th in the Constructors' Championship, whilst Jenson and Takuma are 9th and 23rd respectively in the Drivers' Championship.
"Today's result was obviously a disappointing way to end the season," Button said. "We lost out under the first safety car when we pitted and the safety car was in front of us. The safety car should have waved us past, but as it didn't, Montoya sat behind it and that was it then, I lost about three places. In the first stint the car was good but towards the end it wasn't that much better than in Japan. We just didn't make the final step up that we'd hoped for here. It's been a long, hard season for all of us but we are all much stronger and more determined. My thoughts are already turning to 2006 and I know we have a lot to look forward to next year. For now I just want to thank everyone in this team, at Honda, at Michelin and all our partners for their incredible support this year during some very difficult times. We have a lot to look forward to together next season."
Sato commented, "Today's race was a difficult one and the end result was disappointing because I was making good progress and a points finish looked possible. The gearbox problems I had been experiencing earlier in the race eventually forced me to retire which is a frustrating way to end the season and my time with B·A·R Honda. It's been a tough year but it has been great to be a part of this team. We have had some fantastic times together and I have a lot of good memories. I would like to thank everybody in the team and all our partners. I wish them all the very best of luck for the future."
Sporting director Gil de Ferran added, "We are really disappointed with today's result. This is always the case with any mechanical failure, but even more so for Taku as this was his last race with B·A·R Honda and it would have been nice for him to at least take the chequered flag one last time whilst driving one of our cars."
Honda's Shuhei Nakamoto concluded, "A disappointing day to end a disappointing season. Formula One is undoubtedly the pinnacle of four-wheeled motorsport and is a great challenge, but it is not enough for us just to be here. We, as Honda, have to work harder, be smarter and above all else refocus all our efforts during the winter on our goal of winning."
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