Update:I asked at Mercedes GP (Nee BAR Honda), who had little information, but were able to confirm “It was a development carbon fibre upright we manufactured many years ago but it never ran on the car”
I often trawl around E-Bay to find bits of F1 cars for my collection. This week I found a seller offering a BAR front upright, although it doesn’t appear to be just any old upright. Externally it looks like the team may have been experimenting with a carbon fibre upright. Something I have never heard of a team getting near race ready. Although John Barnard had talked about doing one via his B3 consultancy. The design certainly doesn’t tally with images I have of the BAR cars from that era.
The seller doesn’t appear to have any inside info and appearances can be deceptive, but from what I can see the upright is formed of a central metal (probably Ti) core, with the carbon fibre producing a stiffening structure around the wishbone and brake mountings. We can see even back then BAR used a hollow hub to feed cooling air to the brake disc, a practice only just dropped for this year.
The seller mentions the part is from 2004, 2003-2004 was the era when teams were switching from vaned fabricated uprights towards the more slender Ti designs with airflow passing around them. Additionally at the time carbon fibre was increasing being adopted as a gearbox material, with the heat and point loads that a gearbox has to accept being similar to that of an upright.
It would be interesting if anyone has any further insight into this part, or even wants to buy it so we can have a closer look!http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/Honda-F1-Front-hub-and-2x-2004-Honda-BBS-front-wheels-/220606901522?cmd=ViewItem&pt=UK_Sports_Memorabilia_ET&hash=item335d322d12