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Posted: Mon Jun 22, 2009 1:48 am
by Ed
British Grand Prix – Race, Sunday – 21.06.09

Weather: overcast and dry, 16°C Air, 26-30°C Track

The BMW Sauber F1 Team took away nothing from the British Grand Prix in Silverstone. Robert Kubica was 13th on Sunday, his team mate Nick Heidfeld was 15th.

Robert Kubica: 13th BMW Sauber F1.09-03 / BMW P86/9
Fastest lap 1:22.182 min on lap 41 (14th fastest overall)

“This was a very difficult race for me. Starting from P12 it was clear under normal circumstances we couldn’t achieve much, therefore we decided to take a risk and start the race with a high fuel load and on the prime tyres. But it didn’t pay off, because I had big problems heating up the tyres at the start, and I lost ground. We have to accept that 13th is just what was possible today.”

Nick Heidfeld: 15th BMW Sauber F1.09-06 / BMW P86/9
Fastest lap 1:21.956 min on lap 59 (13th fastest overall)

“I’d say given our poor qualifying results the race result was what we expected. There wasn’t much we could come away with. At the start I risked a lot when I went for a rather small gap. I damaged my front wing but I was happy it wasn’t worse than that. Of course it significantly affected the aerodynamics, but we decided to wait until the scheduled pit stop so not to lose even more time. For the second stint I had to use the harder tyre compound, but the softer ones were clearly the better ones.“

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “For us the race reflects the performance we showed in yesterday's qualifying. Overall it was a disappointing weekend for our team. We will speed up our development programme. The only out of the ordinary situation from our point of view today was when Nick touched another car on the first lap and damaged his front wing. Although he was able to continue until the scheduled pit stop he lost a lot of time.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “We are obviously not happy with this result, but unfortunately it reflects our qualifying performance. In the race we were struggling to get the tyres into the window when they were working at their best. Both drivers complained about lack of grip on the hard compound. With the softer tyre, the pace was acceptable. But at the end of the day here the car was just not competitive. At the Nürburgring we will introduce the next aerodynamic update.”

Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2009 11:39 pm
by Ed
German Grand Prix
10th – 12th July 2009
9th of 17 World Championship races


You always have a special attachment to your home race – in both good times and bad – and the BMW Sauber F1 Team is certainly looking forward to the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring. Many chapters of success in BMW’s motor sport history have been written at the circuit in the Eifel mountains, which is also used to put series- production cars through the most rigorous of testing. Plus, the company has played its part in the extensive modifications carried out at the ‘Ring.

Robert Kubica:
“The Nürburgring is our home race. Even though this season has not gone well for us so far, there will be a lot of BMW Sauber F1 Team fans there crossing their fingers for us. This is just the right time to put in a strong performance and record a good result. However, I have to admit that the track itself is not one of my favourites. Having said that, it does have a big variety of corners and also opportunities to overtake. The best of these is in the first corner, where you can take various different lines. So I expect we’ll see more passing moves again at the Nürburgring and enjoy an exciting race.”

Nick Heidfeld:
“It goes without saying that our verdict on the season at the half-way point is anything but positive. Especially when you compare our results so far with our aims going into the season. Of course I hope we will make improvements, and that’s what everybody in the team is working to achieve.
“A lot of fans and fan club members traditionally come to my home race. That is something I really enjoy and it gives me an extra shot of motivation. I will once again be lining up for my home race with a special helmet design. This year it has been created by a fan on my website, and he will present me with the helmet before the start of practice on Friday.
“I have many happy memories of the Nürburgring. I went there a lot with my parents when I was a child and the ‘Ring is only an hour away from my home town of Mönchengladbach. In winter we went sledging on the Hohe Acht slopes, I learnt to ride a bicycle at the Nürburgring and this was also where I sat in a kart for the first time – with a tyre and a blanket wedged behind my back so that I could reach the pedals.
“Since then I’ve competed in races at the ‘Ring in Formula Ford, Formula 3 and Formula 3000 and celebrated many victories there. My best Nürburgring result in Formula One was in 2005 when I took pole position and finished second in the race itself.
“For me, the Nordschleife is the most sensational race track in the world. In April 2007 I drove our Formula One car on the circuit, which was just brilliant! It was amazing to turn off the grand-prix course onto the Nordschleife and drive along this huge race track all alone in front of all those people.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:
“Going into the German Grand Prix, we cannot be happy with the season so far. After three successful years, this recent period has been the first set-back for our team – and is one we will overcome. After all, this is the same team in Munich and Hinwil that has delivered continuous improvements since the team was founded. We are all absolutely determined to start moving forwards again and I expect us to experience an upturn in form. It is certainly not easy to make up lost ground without the chance to do any testing, but that is what we’re aiming to do. We are bringing a series of mechanical improvements to the Eifel mountains, as well as a further developed version of our double-decker diffuser.
“We feel a particular bond with the Nürburgring. Every series-produced BMW is tested on the Nordschleife circuit and BMW has celebrated some great successes in touring car racing here in the Eifel. The company also runs a Driver Training base here, as well as the BMW Lounge and the BMW Ring Taxi for the Nordschleife. Added to which, we are lending our name to the newly erected BMW M Power Tribüne grandstand on the start/finish straight.”

Willy Rampf, Head of Engineering:
“After our disappointing performance at Silverstone we have to turn things around at the Nürburgring. That’s something we owe our many fans who always come to the race here. The characteristics of the Nürburgring mean the cars tend to understeer here. The key question is: how do you set the car up to stop it pushing over the front wheels too much? That can be resolved by an optimal aero balance combined with the corresponding mechanical set-up. We will be bringing a modified version of our double-decker diffuser to the Nürburgring, and we have also made improvements on the mechanical side. Much will doubtless depend on how successful we are at getting the tyres to work.”

Facts and figures:
Circuit/Date Nürburgring / 12th July 2009
Start time (local/UTC) 14.00 hrs / 12.00 hrs
Lap/Race distance 5.148 km / 308.863 km (60 laps)
Corners 9 right-hand and 6 left-hand corners
Winner 2007 Fernando Alonso, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 2 hr 06:26.358 min
Pole position 2007 Kimi Räikkönen, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 1:31.450 min
Fastest lap 2007 Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, 1:32.853 min
2007 Full-throttle percentage: 62%
Top speed: 300 km/h
Longest section at full throttle: 12 sec / 800 m
Gear changes per lap: 58
Tyre wear: medium
Brake wear: medium – high
Downforce level: high

Posted: Sat Jul 11, 2009 1:50 am
by Ed
German Grand Prix – Free Practice, Friday – 10.07.09

Weather: overcast with some rain, 11-13°C Air, 14-24°C Track

Nürburg (DE). Despite typical cold Eifel weather, the BMW Sauber F1 Team had a smooth start to the weekend of its home Grand Prix. The team brought new parts for the F1.09 to the Nürburgring race – a different floor, including a further developed double diffuser, a modified rear suspension and, for its debut on Saturday morning, a modified front wing.

Nick Heidfeld: BMW Sauber F1.09-06 / BMW P86/9
1st Free Practice: 11th, 1:34.221 min / 2nd Free Practice: 11th, 1:33.012 min
”For me the outcome of the second session is somewhat difficult to understand. After the track dried out I was quite pleased with the performance. I had traffic on what eventually turned out to be my fastest lap and lost about four tenth behind a Ferrari. Because of this I had high expectations for the final run on another set of new tyres and on an improved track. But then I wasn’t quicker than on my blocked lap earlier in the session. This is really strange and has to be analysed.”

Robert Kubica: BMW Sauber F1.09-03 / BMW P86/9
1st Free Practice: 14th, 1:34:694 min / 2nd Free Practice: 14th, 1:33.161 min
“This was a very difficult Friday. The weather conditions were far from good. We had some rain in both sessions and it was very cold all day long. The weather makes it hard to keep up the tyre temperatures. It was especially difficult to get the harder tyre compound to work. We have to improve the car’s balance for tomorrow. We will now analyse the data and see what we have to change for tomorrow.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “With all the new parts on the car today for us it was important that we were able to conduct our comprehensive programme as planned. Now we have to analyse and compare the data we collected. The first analysis shows we made some progress with regard to the downforce level. But we have to make an improvement with the balance of the car. For Saturday we have to make the set-up as effective as possible.”

Posted: Sun Jul 12, 2009 12:16 am
by Ed
German Grand Prix – Qualifying, Saturday – 11.07.09

Weather: overcast, some rain, 12-14°C Air, 18-24°C Track

Nürburg (DE). While Nick Heidfeld only just missed the top ten qualifying and came 11th in what was a rain influenced lottery, Robert Kubica still struggled with his car and qualified 16th for the German Grand Prix at the Nürburgring.

Nick Heidfeld: BMW Sauber F1.09-06 / BMW P86/9
Qualifying 11th, 1:42.310 min in Q2
(3rd Free Practice: 10th, 1:31.928 min)
“It wasn’t too bad in free practice, I was tenth in Q1, and also in Q2 it looked as if I could make it into the top ten qualifying. But then we just had bad luck with our tyre choice. When the intermediates were overheating I needed fresh tyres for the final run in Q2 and I was personally uncertain what to choose – another set of inters or the softer slick compound. I left the decision to the team and they went for drys. I don’t blame anybody, as it is always easy to know afterwards what would have been best. However, 11th isn’t too bad and we are free to choose our fuel strategy. I wouldn’t mind having a wet race tomorrow.”

Robert Kubica: BMW Sauber F1.09-03 / BMW P86/9
Qualifying 16th, 1:32.190 min in Q1
(3rd Free Practice: 18th, 1:32.269 min)
“We brought some new parts to the Nürburgring and the car made some progress. Unfortunately, my car didn’t react how it should. I have struggled with my car’s behaviour. As early as the first free practice session I noticed that something was wrong. Although the analysed data looked strange, we do not understand in detail what is going on. We now have to understand and fix our problem.”

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “It was a very strange qualifying, with the results depending on the changeable weather conditions. In Q1 Robert had to forgo his third run because of the rain and missed getting into Q2 by six hundreds of a second. For the first run in Q2 intermediates were mandatory as the track was too wet. When it dried out we gave Nick slicks for his last run, but during this lap it started raining again. Just like his team-mate, he also missed making it to the next qualifying session by one position.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “Taking the free practice results into account, we did not expect a lot more from Robert’s qualifying. He was simply not happy with the car’s balance. As usual, Nick did a good job during the rainy period of qualifying. In the crucial lap of Q2 we were unlucky as we had slick tyres on the car when it rained. Finally, we just missed Q3. The typical Eifel weather can be a crucial factor in tomorrow’s race as well.”

Posted: Mon Jul 13, 2009 3:00 am
by Ed
German Grand Prix – Race, Sunday – 12.07.09

Weather: dry but overcast, 18°C Air, 25-32°C Track

The BMW Sauber F1 Team didn’t score any points at its home grand prix after Nick Heidfeld came tenth at the Nürburgring and Robert Kubica finished 14th.

Nick Heidfeld: 10th BMW Sauber F1.09-06 / BMW P86/9
Fastest lap 1:34.559 min on lap 42 (10th fastest overall)
“I am very disappointed because today we had the speed to score points, which obviously hasn’t always been the case this year, but several things just went wrong. The start was good for the first few metres and I tried to improve my position, but Adrian Sutil’s defending was very tough. Then the first stint wasn’t easy with the heavy fuel load. But during the middle stint I was able to catch up until I lost some time behind slower cars, including that of Robert. Then I had bad luck at the pit stop, as we were ready to leave the pit, but then a Renault came in and I had to wait. It felt as if it took ages before the lollipop went up.”

Robert Kubica: 14th BMW Sauber F1.09-03 / BMW P86/9
Fastest lap 1:34.537 min on lap 47 (9th fastest overall)
“I had a very good start and gained a lot of positions on the first lap. Although I had a lot of tyre degradation, the first stint was quite good. Nico Rosberg was on primes in front of me and he was really quick. I changed to primes for the second stint and after a couple of laps I noticed that the tyre pressures were not right. Unfortunately this cost me a lot of lap time and I still had around 20 laps to go. Everybody in the team is working very hard and we are getting slightly better each weekend, but there is still a big gap to the front runners.”

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “The race result reflects our performance throughout the whole weekend. For us it was a race without anything special happening apart from Nick´s second pit stop. This was because after taking on fuel and fitting new tyres he had to let Nelsinho Piquet pass. Because of this he lost valuable time, and his chance for P8 and a point. However, we had no technical problems.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “We started the race from 11th and 16th so, as nothing extraordinary happened, we could not expect more. Robert was able to move up a couple of positions on the first lap. We could not take advantage of this as Robert’s prime tyres lacked of grip during his second stint. Nick lost a couple of positions at the start, but fought back during the second half of the race. One point would have been possible for Nick, but during his second pit stop he had to wait for Nelsinho Piquet who was coming in. Subsequently because of this we lost decisive time on Heikki Kovalainen and Timo Glock."

Posted: Sat Jul 18, 2009 1:57 am
by Ed
Hungarian Grand Prix
24th – 26th July 2009
10th of 17 World Championship races

Preview. Munich/Hinwil, 17th July 2009.

After its country outings in Northamptonshire and the Eifel, Formula One is about to sniff some big-city air again. The Hungarian Grand Prix takes place from 24th to 26th July on the sinuous Hungaroring just outside Budapest.

Robert Kubica: “Hungary is a very special Grand Prix for me. In 2006 I made my debut there, and there are always a lot of Polish fans as Budapest is quite close to Poland. Last year was amazing – it was like being in Poland.
“The Hungaroring is very special, tricky and physically demanding. Driving the main straight is the only time you can recover. Almost over the entire track you leave one corner and immediately approach the next. Beyond that, it is very hot in Hungary, which makes it demanding for the driver and the tyres. As a lot of corners are quite bumpy, the car’s balance will be another crucial factor.”

Nick Heidfeld: “I’m very fond of the Hungaroring. The track suits me and I also have some good memories of racing there and achieving good results in the past. It was in Hungary in 1999 that I secured an early championship title in Formula 3000, and in 2006 and 2007 I was on the podium for the BMW Sauber F1 Team. “We can generally expect high air temperatures in Hungary. That doesn’t bother me from a physical point of view, although the races on this twisty circuit are always exhausting, and it could help us get the tyres into the temperature window to work well. One drawback in terms of grip, especially at the start of the weekend, is always the dust that blows onto the track from the surrounding landscape.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: “This year our team heads for the Hungarian Grand Prix with muted expectations. So far our car just hasn’t been fast enough for any top placings. We are nevertheless working flat-out on ongoing development of the F1.09 – for two reasons. This year’s new aerodynamic regulations will remain the same for next season. What we are learning from our present car will flow virtually 1:1 into the concept for the F1.10. Besides that, under the test ban in force, the race weekend offers the only chance to track-test new developments and components. It’s an opportunity that has to be utilised. Beyond that, we naturally want to prove to our fans and, not least, to ourselves that we are also capable of reversing a deficit.”

Willy Rampf, Head of Engineering: “After Monaco, the Hungaroring has the second-lowest average speed of all the Formula One circuits. The mainly slow and medium-fast corners follow in quick succession and the start/finish straight is relatively short. Because dust continually blows onto the track, grip levels tend to be low at the beginning of each of the practice sessions, which can lead to understeer. For the car set-up the focus is primarily on the middle sector with its variety of corner combinations. Another factor that has to be taken into account is that the rear tyres come under heavy loads during the race. Air and track temperatures are traditionally very high in Hungary, which should favour the optimal use of tyres.”

Facts and figures:
Circuit/Date Hungaroring / 26th July 2009
Start time (local/UTC) 14.00 hrs / 12.00 hrs
Race/lap distance 4.381 km / 306.630 km (70 laps)
Corners 8 right-hand and 6 left-hand corners
Winner 2008 Heikki Kovalainen, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 1 hr 37:27.067 min
Pole position 2008 Lewis Hamilton, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 1:20.899 min
Fastest lap 2008 Kimi Räikkönen, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, 1:21.195 min

Data 2008
Full-throttle percentage: 58%
Top speed: 291 km/h
Longest section at full throttle: 11 sec / 750 m
Gear changes per lap: 50
Tyre wear: medium to high
Brake wear: high
Downforce level: very high

Posted: Sat Jul 25, 2009 1:35 am
by Ed
Hungarian Grand Prix – Free Practice, Friday – 24.07.09

Weather: dry and sunny, 24-29°C Air, 30-43°C Track

In hot conditions the BMW Sauber F1 Team was very busy in both 90-minutes free practice sessions for the Hungarian Grand Prix evaluating the new front wing and working on the F1.09’s set-up.

Nick Heidfeld: BMW Sauber F1.09-06 / BMW P86/9
1st Free Practice: 12th, 1:23.154 min / 2nd Free Practice: 9th, 1:22.690 min
“We are making progress, although I’m not satisfied with the balance of the car yet. It is not just as I want it would be – neither on a single lap nor on a long run. You can feel the tyre compounds are now more similar to each other than they used to be, but I’m afraid the tyres are still not really good. Despite the traffic on the track, I was lucky this time and had quite a few clear laps.”

Robert Kubica: BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9
1st Free Practice: 11th, 1:23.146 min / 2nd Free Practice: 14th, 1:22.870 min
“Today it was very hot. The car in the morning session felt good straightaway. In the first run especially I was quite happy. When there was more rubber on the track we tested some new parts and a modified front wing. In the afternoon I was not too happy with the car. We now have to compare the data from the two sessions and find the right balance.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “We used some new parts today, which prior to this had only been tested in the wind tunnel. Therefore we put a lot of emphasis on working on the set-up of the car and finding a good baseline. I think we were able to make a small step forward. Compared to the last two races, the ambient temperatures are much higher here which makes the set-up work quite a bit easier. Both drivers also completed long- runs in the afternoon to gather some information on the tyres.”

Posted: Sun Jul 26, 2009 12:47 am
by Ed
Hungarian Grand Prix – Qualifying, Saturday – 25.07.09

Weather: dry, partly cloudy, approximately 20-24°C Air, 34-43°C Track

Budapest (HU). After rather promising free practice sessions, the BMW Sauber F1 Team had a disappointing qualifying for the Hungarian Grand Prix with Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica out after Q1. Qualifying was overshadowed by the accident of Ferrari driver Felipe Massa. The entire BMW Sauber F1 Team hopes that he has not suffered any severe injuries.

Nick Heidfeld: BMW Sauber F1.09-06 / BMW P86/9
Qualifying 16th, 1:21.738 min in Q1
(3rd Free Practice: 2nd, 1:21.408 min)
“Today’s result is a true disappointment. I was hoping to make it into the top ten. Being second fastest in free practice this morning wasn’t the benchmark for what was possible in qualifying, but at least it proved overall it went quite well. Then my first outing in qualifying confirmed the performance. I was sixth fastest at that period of the session. But then it all went wrong during my second outing. I didn’t have a clear track on my out lap, which was why my first flying lap wasn’t good. On my second flying lap I had Kazuki Nakajima in front of me, but couldn’t back off because Rubens Barrichello was behind me. Then I went wide in turn eleven and that was it. It was not even enough to get into Q2.”

Robert Kubica: BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9
Qualifying 19th, 1:21.901 min in Q1
(3rd Free Practice: 11th, 1:22.076 min)
“We were a little bit unlucky in qualifying. I had yellow flags on the first quick lap of my second attempt. On my second and final quick lap I had two cars in front of me. Although they moved off line they created dirty air. So I lost a lot of time as the car was sliding. This result is very disappointing. I will try my very best tomorrow but realistically this will be a very tough race.”

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “This was a disappointing qualifying. Looking at our performance in this morning’s free practice, we had the chance to achieve top ten positions. Due to what happened on the track both drivers were unable to exploit the car’s full potential. We all hope that Felipe Massa has not suffered any severe injuries in his accident.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “Obviously everybody in the team is very disappointed with this result. On his best lap, Nick was quicker than this morning before he made a mistake and lost everything. Otherwise he would have made it safely to Q2. Robert didn’t have a free lap. That was it.”

Posted: Mon Jul 27, 2009 2:04 am
by Ed
Grand Prix – Race, Sunday – 26.07.09

Weather: dry and sunny, 24-26°C Air, 39-44°C Track

Budapest (HU). After starting from 15th and 18th respectively, the BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers, Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, finished 11th and 13th at the Hungarian Grand Prix.

Nick Heidfeld: 11th BMW Sauber F1.09-06 / BMW P86/9
Fastest lap 1:23.282 min on lap 65 (14th fastest overall)
“From 15th on the grid, finishing 11th was the best I could achieve today. Over the first few metres my start was good and I immediately made up some places, but then later on the first lap I lost them again. First somebody hit me from behind and later I went wide in turn 11. Then it took a while before I was able to overtake Sébastien Buemi, and after that I got stuck in traffic again. That’s why we decided to make my first pit stop a couple of laps earlier than planned. This is, of course, a disadvantage, but due to the traffic situation it still paid off. Despite the rather heavy car, the pace wasn’t too bad. But overall looking at the situation we found ourselves in, I would say the car has been quicker this weekend and it is a shame we didn’t convert this progress into points.”

Robert Kubica: 13th BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9
Fastest lap 1:23.224 min on lap 65 (12th fastest overall)
“I had a good start and a good first lap, and managed to make up a lot of positions then. At least this is something positive. Unfortunately, I had massive understeer and a lot of front tyre wear during the entire race. About ten laps into each stint my front tyres degraded a lot and I was very slow.”

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “For our team this was a race without anything significant happening. Both drivers were able to make up places at the start and keep themselves in the racing action. Our cars ran trouble- free, but after the difficult qualifying there was nothing more we could do on this track. With better starting positions we would have been able to fight for points today. Congratulations to the McLaren Mercedes team for a very convincing victory. It is remarkable how quickly the balance of power is constantly changing this season.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “Starting from 15th and 18th, any prospects for the race are obviously limited. Therefore we tried to make up lost ground with our strategy. This worked well at the start when both drivers gained places. But then, from lap 18 onwards, Nick got stuck in traffic and lost too much time. We therefore decided to make an earlier pit stop for him. At the end of the day it didn’t help much. Based on our grid positions, there was nothing else we could achieve."

Posted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:51 pm
by Ed
European Grand Prix, Valencia 21st – 23rd August 2009

11th of 17 World Championship races

Following the announcement by BMW that it will be pulling out of Formula One at the end of the season, the members of the BMW Sauber F1 Team now have an extra source of motivation; performing as well as possible will promote their case for a future in the sport.

Robert Kubica: “I really enjoyed the Valencia circuit a lot. I like the character of stop-and-go tracks. In Valencia you have a lot of long straights followed by narrow corners and long straights again. That means a lot of heavy braking. It was very hot there last year as the track is between concrete walls and there is not a lot of air. These conditions are very tough for the car’s cooling. Last year I performed quite well in Valencia.”

Nick Heidfeld: “Valencia is a street circuit, but it doesn’t drive like one. In fact it’s just like one of the modern race tracks. You’re not right up against the buildings, there isn’t the tightness you usually get at street circuits, but there are run-off areas. I’m excited to find out what effect the latest modifications will have on our car. Valencia is a great city, of course, and I’m looking forward to going back to a fine restaurant which I discovered on my last visit.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: “Clearly we’re all disappointed about the decision to withdraw from Formula One. The team had established itself at the top in just three years and we would love to have shown that the poor results we’ve had this season were just a blip. Now our work is focusing on the next few months. While efforts are continuing behind the scenes to find a solution for the team, everybody is aware that putting in good performances at the circuits is the best way to advertise their abilities. We want to get back into the fast lane, and so the development packages for Valencia and Singapore will be put into practice as planned.”

Willy Rampf, Head of Engineering: “The race in Valencia was a new addition to the calendar last year and represents a real gain for Formula One. The track, which is built into the port area of the city and has 25 corners, boasts a unique character all of its own. It is a street circuit, but cannot really be compared with Monaco, for example. Indeed, it is wider and allows a much higher average speed. Plus, there are generous run-off areas at practically all the potential trouble spots around the track, which guarantees a high level of safety. Despite the two-week summer break, during which the factory in Hinwil was closed, we will bring a development package to Valencia headed by numerous aerodynamic parts.”

Facts and figures:
Circuit/Date Valencia / 23rd August 2009
Start time (local/UTC) 14.00 hrs / 12.00 hrs
Lap/Race distance 5.440 km / 310.080 km (57 laps)
Corners 13 right-hand and 12 left-hand corners
Winner 2008 Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 1 hr 35:32.339 min
Pole position 2008 Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro 1:38.989 min
Fastest lap 2008 Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, 1:38.708 min

Data 2008
Full-throttle percentage: 59%
Top speed: 306 km/h
Longest section at full throttle: 13 sec / 930 m
Gear changes per lap: 74
Tyre wear: medium
Brake wear: medium
Downforce level: high

Posted: Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:00 pm
by Ed
European Grand Prix
Free Practice, Friday – 21.08.09
Weather: dry and sunny, 25-30°C Air, 35-48°C Track

The BMW Sauber F1 Team focused on testing new components for the F1.09 in the first two free practice sessions for the European Grand Prix. In the heat of Valencia’s harbour circuit, Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld drove new light weight chassis which give a better ballast distribution. Besides eye catching new engine covers, both cars also had new undertrays.
While for Heidfeld a promising free practice session ended early after Fernando Alonso took him off, Kubica was seventh in the afternoon’s free practice.

Robert Kubica: BMW Sauber F1.09-08 / BMW P86/9
1st Free Practice: 12th, 1:43.419 min / 2nd Free Practice: 7th, 1:40.643 min
“We brought some new components to Valencia and tested these in both sessions. In the afternoon we concentrated on evaluating the tyre compounds on long runs. For me it was a Friday without problems. The grip on the track is quite good and we were able to go at quite a good pace. However, we still face the same problems with the car we have had since the beginning of the season.”

Nick Heidfeld: BMW Sauber F1.09-07 / BMW P86/9
1st Free Practice: 15th, 1:44.040 min / 2nd Free Practice: 17th, 1:41.350 min
“In the beginning of the second session it went quite well. Then with the softer tyres the timing wasn’t ideal as I got stuck in traffic. When Fernando Alonso crashed into me I had an early end to the session. Such a crash is really unnecessary during free practice. I saw him in the rear view mirror locking up his wheels and tried to open the door for him, but he went straight into me and I almost rolled.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “Our goal today was to find a good set-up for our new aero-package. So far we are satisfied with what we achieved in the first two practice sessions. In the second session we concentrated on long-runs to get information about the performance of the tyres over that distance. Robert was able to complete his programme as planned without any problems, whereas Nick lost the chance to do the last scheduled tyre comparison because of a collision with Fernando Alonso.”

Posted: Sun Aug 23, 2009 12:37 am
by Ed
European Grand Prix – Qualifying

Weather: sunny and dry, 26-30°C Air, 36-47°C Track

With Robert Kubica making it into the top ten and Nick Heidfeld only just missing the final qualifying session by fractions of tenths of a second to be 11th, the BMW Sauber F1 Team was quite satisfied in Valencia.

Robert Kubica: BMW Sauber F1.09-08 / BMW P86/9
Qualifying 10th, 1:40.512 min (3rd Free Practice: 3rd, 1:39.513 min)

“If lately you have been starting from the rear of the grid, you cannot be disappointed with tenth in qualifying. We have to be realistic. I think today overall was a good day. Unfortunately I had some traffic on my final run and I made a small mistake. This cost me a few tenths. Scoring points will be difficult tomorrow.”

Nick Heidfeld: BMW Sauber F1.09-07 / BMW P86/9
Qualifying 11th, 1:38.826 min in Q2 (3rd Free Practice: 13th, 1:40.230 min)

“It is the sixth time this year I have just missed the top ten qualifying and come 11th by fractions of tenths of a second. Of course I’m a little bit disappointed, but on the other side it means we have freedom regarding the fuel we carry and I hope for a good race. Everybody in the team is determined to put in a good performance and show what they can do for the future. Our car is generally somewhat better and I think from P11 points are possible.”

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “We are satisfied with the qualifying result. Compared to recent races it was a step forward into the midfield, and this is what we had expected from our development package. With Robert we have got one car into the top ten and Nick in 11th is just behind. Q3 didn’t go ideally for Robert, otherwise he could have finished even higher up. Congratulations to McLaren-Mercedes for having both cars on the front row. This proves how quickly things can change.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “Our goal was to get at least one car into the top ten. With Robert we did so. However we expected to be in a better position. Nick missed Q3 only by the blink of an eye. Overall we took a step in the right direction with the aero update. Technically we had a qualifying without any problems.”

Posted: Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:27 am
by Ed
European Grand Prix – Race, Sunday – 23.08.09

Weather: dry and sunny, 31-32°C Air, 46-47°C Track

One championship point ended a three race dry spell for the BMW Sauber F1 Team. Robert Kubica came eighth at the European Grand Prix in Valencia and scored the first point since the Turkish Grand Prix. His team mate Nick Heidfeld made a good start but then got stuck in traffic. He finished 11th which was also his grid position.

Robert Kubica: 8th BMW Sauber F1.09-08 / BMW P86/9
Fastest lap 1:39.374 min on lap 55 (8th fastest overall)
“I had to start the race from a very bad position as I was in the middle of the pack and we were all very close together in the first corners. Unfortunately I was not able to make up positions at the start, and I even lost a place to Nick. But then during the race my pace was good. Although my stints were shorter, I was even able to overtake Mark Webber during his final pit stop, which was very good.”

Nick Heidfeld: 11th BMW Sauber F1.09-07 / BMW P86/9
Fastest lap 1:39.704 min on lap 53 (13th fastest overall)
“For me the result is rather disappointing because it doesn’t reflect what I was able to achieve today. After a good start I was able to match the pace of the guys in front of me, but I let Robert by because he was on a lower fuel load. Then I had to defend my position against Adrian Sutil and lost contact with the front group. This turned out to be crucial, because after his pit stop Heikki Kovalainen came out in front of me and I could not take any advantage from my car being lighter at this stage.”

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “Despite being in a very difficult situation with BMW pulling out of the sport, the team really did a very good job all weekend. Starting tenth and 11th on the grid was already a big improvement compared to the previous races. In the race Robert was able to move up to eighth and score a point. Actually Nick had the better chances to make his way up to the front from 11th on the grid because of the strategy he was able to choose. But he got stuck in traffic and therefore couldn´t demonstrate what he was capable of. The result gives us a boost for the next races and the development packages planned up to the end of the season.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “Our goal was to get at least one point in Valencia. We achieved that. Compliments to the whole team for the effort. The new aero package is clearly progress. We did not have any problems during the race. Unfortunately Nick and, also during some periods, Robert got stuck in traffic and therefore lost valuable time. Our race pace without traffic was as expected."

Posted: Wed Aug 26, 2009 4:43 pm
by Ed
Belgian Grand Prix. 28th – 30th August 2009

12th of 17 World Championship races


Formula One swaps Mediterranean glamour for the rugged countryside of the Ardennes as the teams line up for the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps – just seven days after the European Grand Prix in Valencia. This “natural” circuit is one of the most challenging on the F1 calendar.

Robert Kubica: “We are heading to the final stage of the season which offers a lot of nice tracks, beginning with Spa-Francorchamps. It is a race track with a great history. Most of the drivers like driving here. The circuit is very long with a lot of challenging high-speed corners. Finding the right balance is one crucial factor in Spa, which is quite difficult. The weather is always unpredictable and mostly changeable. It might be dry on some parts of the track and it might rain heavily on others. Driving in Spa is challenging and it is always exciting to come here.”

Nick Heidfeld: “Spa is a sensational race track. The 2008 race was one of my best ever. I was running in the points and decided shortly before the end of the race to switch onto wet-weather tyres. It turned out to be a spot-on decision and put me eventually into second. Sudden changes in the weather can have a decisive effect on this grand prix. Even if it’s hot all over Europe, there might still be torrential rain at Spa. Plus, Spa is only an hour or so from Mönchengladbach by car, so this race always gives me the chance to make a quick visit back to my old home town.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: “Spa – only three letters, but a place with so much motor racing history. Spa is an essential date on the F1 calendar. We love coming to this small, sleepy Belgian town. Spa is a fantastic natural race circuit tucked away in the beautiful, rugged Ardennes. Recent modifications have meant Eau Rouge is now taken flat out in the dry, creating the longest full-throttle section of the season. As this part of the track also rises significantly, engine output and durability are really put to the test. The second defining feature of Spa is the unpredictable weather. It changes very quickly; rain can suddenly set in, but sometimes only over one section of the track. We are aiming to record another good result in the penultimate race of the European season.”

Willy Rampf, Head of Engineering: “Spa is the longest circuit on the F1 calendar and the race is therefore run over the least number of laps. This significantly restricts the teams’ room for manoeuvre in terms of race strategy, because staying out one lap more or less makes a big difference to the amount of fuel a driver has on board. “As far as the track characteristics are concerned, Spa is the first circuit this season where we will be running medium downforce with the 2009 cars. Up to now, we have sent the cars out with high downforce for every GP. The difference is considerable and means we will use special wings at Spa. The track layout has a real excitement factor, which goes beyond the renowned Eau Rouge. The spectrum of cornering speeds is huge; the corners range from the extremely tight Bus Stop chicane to the high-speed Blanchimont.

Posted: Sat Aug 29, 2009 9:59 am
by Ed
Belgian Grand Prix – Free Practice, Friday – 28.08.09

Weather: unsettled, rain in the first session, 15-18°C Air, 17-33°C Track

Changeable weather conditions are the norm at Spa: After the first 90 minutes of free practice for the Belgian Grand Prix were wet, the track was dry for the afternoon’s session, and there was even some sunshine. The BMW Sauber F1 Team managed to compress the usual Friday programme into the second session and all in all enjoyed a trouble free day.

Robert Kubica: BMW Sauber F1.09-08 / BMW P86/9
1st Free Practice: 9th, 1:53.650 min / 2nd Free Practice: 8th, 1:47.578 min
“The conditions today were quite changeable. We started the first practice session on dry tyres, but it started to rain pretty soon as actually we were only able to do one timed lap on dry tyres at the start of the session. We took advantage of the weather conditions and did a couple of laps on full wet tyres just to see how the car behaved in case of rain. We had to squeeze quite a lot into the second free practice session, and on top of that we evaluated the tyres and worked on the set-up. It was quite difficult as we had to cram several things into a very tight programme. We even had to mix several evaluations in one run. We also have a couple of new components on the car.”

Nick Heidfeld: BMW Sauber F1.09-07 / BMW P86/9
1st Free Practice: 14th, 2:05.614 min / 2nd Free Practice: 16th, 1:48.017 min
“It was quite okay. In the first session the rain disrupted our programme. In the afternoon we made the usual tyre compound comparisons, with a somewhat surprising result as I found the harder compound the better one.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “In the afternoon we concentrated mostly on the tyre comparisons, after we failed to gather any relevant information on the dry tyres in the morning. We still have quite a lot of work to do on the set-up of the car, because it is particularly important for the drivers to feel confident on this demanding track. The second sector, with its quick corners, is the most important one and this is what we have to focus on. Once again the field is very close with 18 cars classified within one second.”