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Friday, July 13, 2007

New designer for struggling Honda

The Honda team have signed BMW Sauber's chief designer Jorg Zander as they attempt to improve their poor form.

Honda, who won their first race of the modern era last year, have slumped this season and scored only one point in the first nine Grands Prix.

Their fortunes contrast with BMW Sauber, who have progressively improved and have this year's third fastest car.

Named deputy technical director, Zander is part of a recruitment drive aimed at improving Honda's performances.

Honda's senior technical director, Shuhei Nakamoto, said: "This is the latest in a series of key appointments that we have made in order to bolster our team.

"With the steady performance improvements we have made over the past few races and a strengthened technical team, I am sure the difficulties we have seen in the first half of 2007 are now behind us."

Zander is the second of those major appointments. The first was Frenchman Loic Bigois, who joined as head of aerodynamics last month. Bigois and Zander previously worked together at the Williams team.

Jenson Button won last year's Hungarian Grand Prix for Honda - but the victory came in an unpredictable wet-dry race and only after Fernando Alonso's leading Renault retired.

The win came towards the end of what had been a troubled season, and only after a major development programme aimed at improving a struggling car.

This year, Honda's form was even worse than at the beginning of last year, and so far they are showing scant evidence of being able to repeat the improvements they made in 2006.

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