BMW Sauber

Formula 1 Team reports for the 2009 F1 season includes race previews, reports and reviews
Ed
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BMW Sauber

Postby Ed » Sat Mar 21, 2009 9:28 pm

Australian Grand Prix.
27th – 29th March 2009
1st of 17 World Championship races

Preview.
Munich/Hinwil, 20th March 2009.

It’s all change in Formula One as the new season gets underway amid great intrigue and excitement. A raft of rule changes mean the cars will be sporting a totally different look and be fitted with slick tyres. The F1 engines now have to last twice as long as before and those who want (or are able) to will put their faith in a Kinetic Energy Recovery System. The pre-season testing – which the new rules stipulate will be the last of the year – threw up more questions than it answered. Favourites were riddled with worries, despair turned to encouragement for others whose survival in the sport had been in doubt. Preparations may have gone smoothly for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, but putting a finger on its progress remains a tricky business. The crystal-ball gazing will come to an end, however, on Saturday 28th March 2009. At 17.00 hrs local time (07:00 hrs in Central Europe) qualifying will finally get underway for the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

Robert Kubica: “I’m really looking forward to the Australian Grand Prix. I’m happy that the race season will finally get started and all the speculation of the pre-season testing will stop. It will be very interesting to see how competitive the teams really are.
“I like street circuits in general, so Albert Park is one of my favourite race tracks. You have to be very precise. That applies to the whole circuit; you need to stay on the clean line. But this year precision will be especially important for the first corner after the start, when we will have our very first fight for position with the bigger 2009 front wings. I'm pretty sure it will be an interesting race. In addition, Melbourne is a very nice city and the people create a truly special atmosphere for all of us in Formula One.”

Nick Heidfeld: “I’m looking forward immensely to the start of the season in Australia. This time around I’m particularly keen to see how the teams and drivers stack up against each other. It’s time for the speculation to stop; from now on it’s only facts that matter. A whole number of things have changed since last year and that means there are a lot of unanswered questions: What effect will the KERS and adjustable front wings have in the races? What will happen at the start when we are side-by-side with the larger front wings for the first time? Will overtaking really be easier, as our experiences in testing have led us to believe?
“Last year winter testing did not go as well as it might have done for us, and we surprised everybody with our strong performance in Australia. This winter all of our testing went pretty well, and I hope this impression is confirmed in Melbourne. We had to contend with some difficult weather conditions in testing, and I’m also curious to see what happens in Albert Park in this respect, as it can get very autumnal in my favourite travel destination in March.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: “The start of a Formula One season with perhaps the most sweeping rule changes we’ve ever seen is now in sight. We are pleased that Australia is again the first GP of the year in 2009. There is always a very special atmosphere in Melbourne. The Australians certainly love their sport and they’ve been well and truly bitten by the Formula One bug.
“Last year Nick took second for us in the first race of the season, and we’re hoping that we get off to a good start in Albert Park once again this year. We are heading in the right direction with the BMW Sauber F1.09; both the drivers and the engineers came back with positive feedback during testing. Plus, Nick and Robert carried out full race simulations without suffering any technical problems.
“As far as KERS is concerned, our system will be race-ready in Melbourne. We sent the cars out regularly with KERS during testing and the results were very good. Now it’s just a matter of weighing up the pros and cons. On the positive side, the drivers would have an extra 82 hp at their disposal for 6.6 seconds per lap. However, the system adds weight to the car and this has an impact on the car’s weight distribution and tyre wear. We will make a decision on a driver-by-driver, circuit-by-circuit basis.”

Willy Rampf, Head of Engineering: “There’s always a lot of anticipation ahead of the first race of the season, but this time it’s even more exciting than usual. Winter testing gave us some initial indications of where we stand in relation to our rivals, but there are still a lot of question marks. The reason for the uncertainty is the radical changes made to the technical regulations. Totally new aerodynamics with significantly lower downforce compared to last year, the introduction of KERS, the return of slicks and the double mileage requirement for the engines mean we’re starting from a totally different basis. Using the potential of the tyres to optimum effect will be particularly important.
“Melbourne is a stop-start kind of circuit, which places heavy loads on the brakes and, at the same time, demands good traction. Grip levels are very low, especially at the start of the weekend, but you cannot let that deflect you from getting the car set-up right.”


Drivers at events organised by the Australian Grand Prix Corporation:

Tuesday, 24th March: From 16.10 hrs Christian Klien will spend around 30 minutes at a welcome event in Federation Square, Melbourne. A BMW Sauber F1 Team car will be on display and its engine will be fired up to entertain the fans with its sound.

Wednesday, 25th March: From 17.50 to 18.20 hrs Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld will give interviews on a stage near the paddock in Albert Park.

Thursday, 26th March: From 12.00 to 12.25 hrs the BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers will take part in an autograph- signing session in Albert Park.

History and background: 2009 will see Melbourne host its 14th Australian Grand Prix. The race was held in Adelaide from 1985 to 1995. Melbourne has many faces and is extremely multicultural, its 21st-century profile shaped by immigrants and students from all over the world, as well as a fascinating architectural mix. The city also boasts lush green sports grounds and public parks. The Formula One circuit runs through Albert Park, in the St. Kilda district of Melbourne. With a population of around 3.5 million, Melbourne is the capital of the State of Victoria, which was hit by devastating bush fires at the start of the year. The fires in the south of Australia claimed over 200 lives and many more were injured. Thousands of people were left homeless. The city itself – Australia’s second-largest after Sydney – was not affected. Melbourne lies at the eastern end of the continent’s south coast, where the Yarra River empties into Port Phillip Bay. The city’s origins can be traced back to 1835 and it acquired its current name in 1837. Gold was discovered in Victoria in the 1850s and Melbourne went on to thrive as a railway interchange, industrial hub and port city. It even served as the seat of the federal government for a time. The city has a history of hosting major sporting events and was the venue for the summer Olympic Games of 1956.

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Postby Ed » Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:16 am

Australian Grand Prix – Practice, Friday

Weather: dry, 18-19°air, 25-31°C track

At 12.30 hrs local time in Melbourne, Australia, the 2009 season finally started. For the BMW Sauber F1 Team the two free practice sessions were trouble free and unspectacular. Nick Heidfeld finished 11th and 14th, while Robert Kubica was 13th and 15th. The team fitted Heidfeld's F1.09 with the Kinetic Energy Recovery System (KERS) while Kubica drove without the hybrid system.

Nick Heidfeld:
BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9
1st Practice: 11th , 1.28.137 min
2nd Practice: 14 th 1.27.398 min
“It was great fun to drive here today. It was high time the season started. We had no technical problems and completed our entire programme – with the usual tyre comparison and long runs. The Albert Park circuit isn’t a permanent race track and, therefore, naturally has a very low grip level at the beginning of the race weekend. It improved a little during the two practice sessions but even in the end it wasn’t good.”

Robert Kubica:
BMW Sauber F1.09-03 / BMW P86/9
1st Practice: 13th, 1.28.511 min
2nd Practice: 15th, 1.27.398 min

“It was the first Friday of the season, but, apart from that, it was the normal work improving the set-up and evaluating the tyres for the race. We collected a lot of data which we have to analyse so we can make more progress. Overall we are lacking grip, and we have to find out why.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “At last the new season has started We did not have any technical problems today, KERS also worked without any difficulties. We were able to complete our full programme. The focus as the set-up work for the race, but so far we are not satisfied with this. The decisive factor will be to use the tyre performance perfectly for both specifications. We will concentrate on this in the third practice.”

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Postby mlittle » Mon Mar 30, 2009 11:06 am

BMW-Sauber Race Report


~~~Weather: sunny and dry, 21-19 air, 30-25C track

Melbourne (AUS). The BMW Sauber F1 Team had a disappointing start to the 2009 season with both cars involved in accidents. Nick Heidfeld's race was already hopeless after he was hit in the first corner and then brought the damaged car home in 11th. For team mate, Robert Kubica, the Australian GP was a lot more dramatic. With only three laps to go the Pole was fighting for second place with Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull) when the cars touched, crashed and retired.

Nick Heidfeld: 11th
BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
Fastest lap: 1:28.283 min on lap 48 (5th fastest overall)

"Today's outcome to the race is extremely disappointing for me. I had such a good start and was able to make up positions straight away. My strategy was promising too. Then in the braking zone for the first corner I felt safe because when I looked there was no car next to me. I was in the middle of the track but suddenly I got a big bang. I had to pit for new tyres
and a front wing, but the damage to the car was a lot more than that and driving with it was hopeless. I think at least the KERS helped me to defend my position with such a slow car. But in the end it didn't matter much because who cares if you finish 11th or 13th."

Robert Kubica: accident
BMW Sauber F1.09-03 / BMW P86/9
Fastest lap: 1:27.988 min on lap 36 (2nd fastest overall)

"What a disappointment! I had a chance to win this race because Jenson Button and Sebastian Vettel were on soft tyres and struggling, while I was on the harder compound and was able to drive much quicker. Sebastian went wide in corner one and then he braked early. I was already in front, but he didn't want to let me by. Then he had a lot of understeer and touched me. My front wing was under the car, therefore I crashed in corner 5. I think Sebastian was a bit too optimistic. Had this been the last corner okay, but there were still three laps to go and he really had no realistic chance to defend his position because I was so much quicker. We both had a great weekend up to this point and we leave Melbourne with nothing. That's a real shame! My car was very good, particularly in the second stint when I set the best lap times. That's racing!"

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): "As quite often happened in the past we had another race in Melbourne with a lot of drama. Nick's hopes had already gone in the first corner. After a collision, which wasn't his fault, he was not only a long way behind, but also his aerodynamics were ruined, which made it impossible for him to catch up. Robert drove an excellent race and got himself up with the leaders in the final laps of the race. He was on the harder tyre compound, and had every chance to catch the two cars in front of him to win the race. The collision three laps before the flag ended the race for him and also for Sebastian Vettel, so both drivers lost a podium and points. On the positive side, I can say that today we were very fast on the harder tyres."

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): "This was a turbulent start to the season, particularly for our team. Nick lost his chances in the race immediately after the start following a crash, which was not his fault. Robert was even unluckier. First he was catching the leading cars. And then, just a few laps from the end, he was able to attack the frontrunners. Because of our tyre choice, Robert was on the harder compound on the last stint, unlike his competitors on the soft. At this stage our car was much quicker than the two leading ones. When Robert overtook Sebastian Vettel he was already in front when Sebastian touched him. This cost us second place or even the victory."
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Postby mlittle » Fri Apr 03, 2009 10:24 am

Malaysian Grand Prix
BMW-Sauber Preview


~~~The BMW Sauber F1 Team travels to the home of its premium partner PETRONAS for the second round of the 2009 World Championship. The Twin Towers, the company's head office, are a major landmark of Kuala Lumpur. The GP at the Sepang circuit normally takes place in extreme heat, making it one of the toughest races of the season.

Robert Kubica: "The Malaysian Grand Prix is always something very special, as it is like a home race for us because of PETRONAS. We have a lot of fans in Malaysia and it is really a special feeling to drive there. The race went extremely well for me last year. Of course I hope that we can get a strong result again this time around.

I'm really looking forward to this GP, as this is a unique track with a wide variety of corners; some are seriously quick, but others are very slow. And in some places you can choose different lines, which makes it particularly interesting. The final sector is very different from the other two, as it has just two long straights and a hard braking area. This track really offers everything, and that means it demands a lot of the car. The later start time means there is a pretty strong chance of rain. I'm sure that we are in for an extremely interesting weekend."

Nick Heidfeld: "For me Sepang is a nice, challenging circuit. Last year I managed to pull off some good overtaking moves there. The heat is always an issue, coupled with a high level of humidity. However, I've never had a problem with it and am particularly fit this year. We've often experienced cloudbursts in Malaysia in the late afternoon and early evening. This year's schedule increases the chances that we will still be on the track at this time. Hopefully it will still be light enough.

I always feel very much at ease in Malaysia. All the activities we've been involved in with PETRONAS have given me the chance to see a bit of the country and I've also been here on holiday. There is not a lot of time before the grand prix this year, but we have engagements with PETRONAS on Tuesday and Wednesday - and of course there will be a visit to the PETRONAS Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur. The towers fascinate me every time I see them, especially at night when they're illuminated."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: "After the opening race of the season in Melbourne, we are now very much looking forward to our first home Grand Prix of 2009. Every year since our team was founded in 2006 we have seen for ourselves the charismatic presence of our premium partner PETRONAS in Malaysia. It is always amazing to experience the fantastic reception we enjoy as a team in Malaysia.

Last year Nick recorded our first ever fastest race lap as a team in Sepang and Robert finished in an outstanding second place. Our aim is to pick up from where we left off with these good performances.

The BMW Group has stepped up its involvement in Malaysia in recent years as part of its Asia strategy. The first of a total of seven races in Asia this year is an important one for BMW and PETRONAS, and will be keenly fought, that's for certain!"

Willy Rampf, Head of Engineering: "We always look forward to this race in particular, as it's the home Grand Prix for our partner PETRONAS. The Sepang circuit is very challenging and places big demands on the chassis and the teams' choice of set-up. There are fast ess-bends in which stability is critical. At the same time, you need good traction under acceleration out of the tight corners, some of which are uphill. The right-hander before the back straight, which closes up at the exit, is especially tricky.

Because the tyres are placed under heavy loads in the fast corners, in particular, in Sepang, we use the soft and the hard compound here. So we're driving a level harder on them than in Melbourne. Cooling is also an issue, given the high ambient temperatures. And, of course, the weather is very unpredictable. You always have to be prepared for rain here."


~~~History and background: Formula One will visit the Sepang International Circuit for the 11th time in 2009. The circuit is located just under an hour's drive south of the vibrant downtown area of Kuala Lumpur.

The name Kuala Lumpur translates as "muddy estuary" after its location at the mouth of the rivers Gombak and Klang. KL, as the city is popularly known today, is the heartbeat of modern Malaysia. With a population of around 1.5 million, more than half of them Chinese, the capital is also the country's largest city. Extending over an area of 244 square kilometres, KL offers a thriving Asian culture alongside British colonial buildings and landmark high-tech edifices such as the 88-storey PETRONAS Twin Towers that rise to a height of 452 metres.

Kuala Lumpur was founded in the middle of the jungle by tin miners in 1857. In 1896, under British rule, the Malay Sultanates formed the Federation of Malaya with Kuala Lumpur as its capital. In 1957 Kuala Lumpur became the capital of the newly independent country.
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Postby Ed » Fri Apr 03, 2009 9:54 pm

PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix – Friday Practice
Weather: dry, 28-33°C air, 35-48°C track, 50-70 % humidity

The BMW Sauber F1 Team focussed on race preparation in the two free practice sessions for the PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix, with both running without any technical problems.

Robert Kubica: BMW Sauber F1.09-05 / BMW P86/9
1st Practice: 13th, 1.37.039 min / 2nd Practice: 17th, 1.37.267 min
“Today we concentrated totally on race preparation, and particularly on tyre comparisons. The specifications that Bridgestone have brought to Malaysia are very different from the ones we used in Melbourne, and obviously Sepang also has different characteristics. In addition, the track temperatures were much higher here, so it was a new situation. We gathered a lot of data and have the basis to use the tyres to their full potential during the race. While we were doing long-runs today, tomorrow we will focus on the single lap performance.”

Nick Heidfeld: BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9
1st Practice: 18th, 1.37.640 min (KERS) / 2. Practice: 20 th 1.37.930 min
”Certainly the results don’t look good, but in Melbourne it was a similar picture on Friday. Nevertheless we do have some work to do in order to improve the balance of the car. In the first session I was running with the KERS and in the second I didn’t use the device. Using it makes a huge difference to the car’s balance, but without it there is the loss of the boost. This was the experience we wanted and why we took it out for this session. Now we will throw everything into the mix - lap times, data and my feelings - and then decide whether or not to use the KERS here.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): ”We stuck to our planned programme today, and concentrated on race preparation. One focus point was the tyre comparison on the long-runs. Apart from that we tested two different options with Nick today – in the first session he drove with the KERS and in the second without. We did this for two reasons: On the one hand we wanted to get a direct comparison and on the other hand we wanted to practice changing in between the two sessions. We did not have any technical problems

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Postby Ed » Sat Apr 04, 2009 10:58 pm

PETRONAS Malaysian GP – Qualifying, Saturday

Weather: dry, 33-29°air, 47-36°C track, 63-80 % humidity

In the heat of the Sepang International Circuit Robert Kubica qualified eighth for the PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix. His team-mate in the BMW Sauber F1 Team, Nick Heidfeld, just missed the top ten qualifying and came 11th. Due to penalties for other drivers, Robert gains two and Nick one position.

Robert Kubica:
BMW Sauber F1.09-05 / BMW P86/9
Qualifying: 8th, 1.36.106 min (3rd Practice: 11th, 1.36.563 min)

“I’m satisfied with what I was able to achieve today. Although we didn’t make any major changes after free practice the car was bottoming quite a lot, which made it unstable and therefore not easy to drive. I did what I could in the corners, but the straights are long here and give the drivers who are using a KERS a major advantage. I have to start on the dirty side of the track plus I have some cars with a KERS behind me, which will make the start very interesting.”

Nick Heidfeld:

BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
Qualifying: 11th, 1.34.769 min in Q2 / (3rd Practice: 15th 1.37.026 min)

“Of course I’m very disappointed. I looked fairly safe in Q2 when I was seventh, but on my second quick run I had traffic on the out lap. Two cars in front of me and one behind meant that I couldn’t go at the pace needed to heat the tyres up, and then the important lap wasn’t good enough. After we did the comparison yesterday I was using the KERS today and it helped, especially in sector one where I was the fastest car for most of the time.“

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):
“The rain that was expected for qualifying didn’t come, and the result confirms the picture we already saw emerging in Melbourne. It remains difficult to break into the ranks of the teams with the two step diffusers. Having said this, we have to be satisfied with the positions we have achieved. Due to two drivers having penalties that will drop them down the grid, Robert and Nick will be starting from sixth and tenth. For tomorrow there is also a high chance of rain, which means the order could get mixed up during the race.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering):
“We knew it would be very difficult, but nevertheless we hoped to get both our drivers into Q3. Unfortunately that didn’t work out with Nick. Because of traffic on his final out lap he was not able to heat his tyres up properly. Robert was consistently doing well, and did the best he could. Being sixth is an acceptable grid position with our strategy.”

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Postby Ed » Sun Apr 05, 2009 11:43 pm

PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix – Race, Sunday

Weather: dry at the start, heavy rain, 24-30°air, 24-40°C track, humidity 75-97 percent

In a dramatic PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix, BMW Sauber F1 Team driver, Nick Heidfeld, finished second. After the race was started in dry conditions, heavy rain forced the race director to red flag it early. Robert Kubica, was unlucky and had to stop on lap two due to an engine problem. Because, as required by the regulations, the drivers were not able to complete 75 percent of the race distance they will only receive half the points.

Nick Heidfeld: 2nd
BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
Fastest lap: 1:39.084 min on lap 17 (10th fastest overall)

“I'm obviously very happy to be second after starting from tenth. It was a really extreme and challenging race today. I had a good start but also quite a heavy car, which meant racing was not easy for me. When it was obvious it would rain soon I pitted seven laps earlier than planned, and we decided to go on full rain tyres. They wore down quickly because the heavy rain didn't come. The team kept telling me stay out, heavy rain expected , but the tyres felt almost like slicks. For those laps intermediates would have been much quicker, but who could know that. When it finally poured down it was the right decision to stop the race. It was absolutely impossible to drive. I spun behind the safety car, not only because of aquaplaning with the tyres but also with the underfloor. I'm happy for our team that we can now bring home at least one proper result from the first two races of the season.”

Robert Kubica: DNF
BMW Sauber F1.09-035/ BMW P86/9

“When I started on the formation lap, my engine produced strange noises and there was very little power. I started the race, which under the circumstances was not easy, and continued to drive. I asked my team what I should do, but before I got an answer the car caught fire and I stopped.”

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):
“The race was as chaotic as we expected based on the weather forecast. For Robert, the race was already over at the start because his engine didn’t respond to the throttle. According to an early analysis the reason was a leakage in the pneumatic system. Because of the weather forecast we put Nick on a heave fuel load. This enabled him to stay out until the rain started. He switched to rain tyres at the right moment and was able to finish the race. In extremely difficult conditions he managed to achieve the best possible result. Compliments go to Nick and the whole crew, who worked without any mistakes.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering):
“This was not a race for poor nerves! For Robert, the GP was over at the start. That’s a shame, because he was in a strong position. Nick started on a heavy fuel load. The strategy to leave him out for a long time paid off. This was brave, but in the end it worked out. In very difficult conditions he managed to keep the car on the track and to capture a podium finish. Compliments are due to the whole team who worked perfectly in chaotic conditions.”

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Postby Ed » Thu Apr 09, 2009 10:47 pm

Chinese Grand Prix
17th – 19th April 2009
3rd of 17 World Championship races

Preview

Following the spectacular PETRONAS Malaysian Grand Prix that saw Nick Heidfeld take second for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, the Chinese Grand Prix is now next on the weekend of 17th to 19th April. Previously always held in the autumn, the GP will this time take place in spring.

Robert Kubica: “It’s the first time we’re going to Shanghai at this time of year, when there is a high chance of rain. That can have a major impact on the whole weekend, of course. The circuit is very challenging with long straights and hard braking. Plus there are several high-speed corners, for example the slightly banked right-hander you take at almost full throttle and that leads onto the back straight. It’s one of the longest straights on the whole race calendar. And, of course, the combination of turn one and two with the blind apex and the long braking is a real challenge. So far Shanghai hasn’t brought me any luck, but I’m hoping that will change this time round.”

Nick Heidfeld: “This year’s race is scheduled much earlier than before, so we can probably expect considerably lower temperatures. That will make a difference to the tyres in particular, but it will also bring with it a different atmosphere. We’ve seen some good races in Shanghai, and I hope that will be the case in 2009 as well. The first corner is the highlight of the circuit. You go into it at high speed, and to begin with you stay on the throttle, but then it keeps tightening up and you have to drop down to second gear.
“The city of Shanghai is just as exciting. We’ve been racing there since 2004 and you can really observe how the city is changing from year to year. On the one hand there are extremely poor districts, while on the other you get smart restaurants along the Bund with a great view of the Pearl Tower and the Shanghai skyline. The traffic is unpleasant, and we’re not allowed to drive ourselves here. Last year my driver had an accident on the motorway on Saturday night. You quite often get cars unexpectedly stranded on the road, and obviously it was too late for him to brake. Fortunately it wasn’t serious, but traffic conditions in Shanghai are really terrible.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: “After a short Easter break, we look forward to the second back-to-back of the season. Shanghai is a booming city of millions, and the sheer scale of the race track and its facilities are unsurpassed. From the point of view of BMW as a car manufacturer and all our partners, the Chinese GP is of significant commercial interest. This region has enormous growth potential.

“China is our biggest market in Asia and the fifth largest worldwide. Since 2004 BMW has also run a production plant in China, where BMW 3 Series and BMW 5 Series models are manufactured as part of a joint venture. Unlike last year, this year’s race takes place early on in the season. In Shanghai we hope to continue on from our successful result in Kuala Lumpur.”

Willy Rampf, Head of Engineering: “The Shanghai circuit has several fast corners that demand a great deal of downforce and high vehicle stability. Due to the restrictions on aerodynamics introduced this season, we will probably be running with maximum downforce. But there are also long straights where maximum speed is of the essence. Because the track is very wide and the run-off areas are mostly tarred, a bit of a slide doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of the race. That’s an incentive for the drivers to overtake, so we can look forward to quite a spectacular race. Good car balance is important, particularly in the first turn combination. The drivers go into it at very high speed and brake deep into the corner. This section is undoubtedly one of the highlights of the season in terms of testing driving skills. All in all, Shanghai is a very challenging circuit.”

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Postby Ed » Fri Apr 17, 2009 9:14 pm

Chinese Grand Prix – Free Practice

Weather: sunny and dry, 16-19°C Air, 26-34°C Track

As usual on a Friday, the BMW Sauber F1 Team used both free practice sessions for race preparation. For the first time the kinetic energy recovery system was not only used on Nick Heidfeld's car, but also on the F1.09 of Robert Kubica. Both 90 minute sessions went without any technical failures.

Robert Kubica: BMW Sauber F1.09-05 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
1. Training: 18th, 1:38.463 min / 2. Training: 17th, 1:37.491 min

“We completed our standard Friday programme and tried to learn more about the nature of the track and to understand the tyre compounds. While the option tyres are quite fragile, it is difficult to make the prime tyre work. Additionally, this was the first time I was running KERS at a Grand Prix weekend. There were a lot of tests to do. Now we have to check and evaluate the data.“

Nick Heidfeld: BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
1. Training: 16th, 1:38.456 min / 2. Training: 18th, 1:37.544 min

“As is normal for us on Fridays we focused on tyre evaluation for the race. They do not really work as we would like them to. We now have to try to improve the balance of the car.“

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): ”Our concentration today, as usual, was on race preparation and, as expected, we completed the full programme. At the moment we are not satisfied with the results. For the first time both our drivers used the KERS. The positive side was we did not have any technical problems.“

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Postby Ed » Sat Apr 18, 2009 9:27 pm

Chinese Grand Prix – Qualifying

Weather: dry and sunny, 22-25°C Air, 33-38°C Track

The BMW Sauber F1 Team faces a challenging Chinese Grand Prix with Nick Heidfeld having missed the final qualifying session by just a hundredth of a second and Robert Kubica starting from only 18th. The evaluation of the data from Friday’s Free Practice sessions indicated using KERS would not give Kubica’s F1.09 a lap time advantage at the Shanghai International Circuit. The Pole will therefore not have KERS on his car for the rest of the weekend. Due to its advantage Heidfeld will go into the race with KERS.

Nick Heidfeld: BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
Qualifying 11th, 1:35.975 min in Q2
(3rd Free Practice: 11th, 1:36.702 min)
“My first and quickest lap in Q2 was the best I could get out of the car, and it was a really good one. I was hoping to get an even better lap time on the second run just because the track conditions always improve during qualifying. But then for some reason with that set of Option tyres the grip wasn’t there. We have to find out why that was. I missed the top ten qualifying by just one hundredth of a second, but nevertheless it is obvious we have a lack of pace. We hope an aerodynamic update, which will come for the Spanish Grand Prix, will help us. For now we have to get the most out of the situation and for tomorrow there is a chance for rain which would be great. We will think carefully about our race strategy now. As I’m out of the top ten I’m free to choose my fuel load.”

Robert Kubica: BMW Sauber F1.09-05 / BMW P86/9
Qualifying 18th, 1:36.966 min in Q1
(3rd Free Practice: 12th, 1:36.742 min)
“The car had no grip and was not at all easy to drive. I struggled with the softer tyre compound. After this morning’s session I didn’t expect this at all, as the gap between softer and harder tyres was bigger then. Additionally I made a mistake braking in turn 12 which cost me my lap time.”

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “Today’s qualifying was very disappointing. Data evaluation from Free Practice indicated our car would not work on this track. Both drivers complained about lack of grip, and we didn’t manage to solve this problem. Because of these circumstances, both drivers had difficulties driving a perfect lap. This also affected our grid positions. We now have to get the best out of our situation with a good race strategy.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “We expected something completely different after the results of the first two races. Of course with these disappointing starting positions we cannot be happy. In comparison to other teams, we have lost some ground. Now to get closer to the top we have to reduce the gap with an intensive development programme.”

Ed
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Postby Ed » Sun Apr 19, 2009 9:22 pm

Chinese Grand Prix – Race

Weather: rain, 19-20°C Air, 18-19°C Track

A Grand Prix to forget! The wet Shanghai race left the BMW Sauber F1 Team empty handed. Both drivers were involved in a couple of the numerous incidents due to aquaplaning and poor visibility. In the end Nick Heidfeld finished 12th just ahead of his team mate, Robert Kubica.

Nick Heidfeld: 12th BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
Fastest lap: 1:54.158 min in lap 40 (7th fastest overall)
“Of course I’m disappointed with the outcome of today’s race, but at the same time I feel I should be grateful I was able to finish it at all. The conditions in terms of visibility and aquaplaning were disastrous. In the beginning, after the safety car pulled off, my tyre pressures were too low so I struggled a lot. On lap 13 Timo Glock hit me, which caused damage to the car and certainly didn’t help. However, close to the end of the race I had the chance to score one or two points, but then there was a lot of debris on the track, including a wheel, from Adrian Sutil’s accident. I tried to find a way around it, but it was unpredictable which way it would go and it hit me. Afterwards the car felt very strange and I lost four places.”

Robert Kubica: 13th BMW Sauber F1.09-05 / BMW P86/9
Fastest lap: 1:55.350 min in lap 44 (14th fastest overall)
“Driving was very dangerous today. We had aquaplaning nearly everywhere and the lack of visibility was a disaster. There were quite a lot of situations when I couldn’t see anything. All this also caused my heavy accident with Jarno Trulli. When Jarno braked into the corner I hit some standing water. Although I hit the brakes very hard the car still accelerated. I went quite high into the air after hitting his rear tyre, but fortunately nobody was hurt. After coming to the pits we had to change the front wing a second time as I felt some vibration and massively lost grip. This ruined my race.”

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “There is not much to say about this Grand Prix. From bad starting positions both our drivers were involved in collisions under these rainy conditions. The result is zero points. All we can do is put this race behind us and concentrate on Bahrain.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “That was a very disappointing race. Our only chance to get into the points was in a wet race, but we didn’t score at all. We have to improve as quickly as possible.”

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Postby Ed » Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:51 pm

Bahrain Grand Prix
24th – 26th April 2009
4th of 17 World Championship races

Preview

The caravan moves swiftly on: this weekend sees the fourth race in the FIA Formula One World Championship, held in the desert kingdom of Bahrain. It was here in 2008 that Robert Kubica gained the first pole position for the BMW Sauber F1 Team.

Robert Kubica: “I am looking forward to going to Bahrain. Overall I really like the track, although it is not really challenging. The Bahrain International Circuit has a couple of long straights and three characteristically low-speed corners that require heavy braking. Wind can play an important role in Sakhir as it influences the balance of the car. Also, the wind blows sand onto parts of the track, which leads to changing grip conditions. Luckily we had the chance to test the F1.09 car in Bahrain in February, although weather conditions were unstable and windy then. Last year we performed quite well in Bahrain – after securing pole position in qualifying I managed to finish the race on the podium.”

Nick Heidfeld: “I enjoy driving in Bahrain. I like the modern complex and the circuit. The section from the fifth to the penultimate corner is particularly well designed. This time I’ll be again arriving quite early to allow time for my fitness training. It will be interesting to see what the weather brings. Usually the climate in Bahrain has been very pleasant, but we’ve also had incredible heat, and during winter testing there was a huge sandstorm. In 2008 there was a concert by Akon after the race, which I also remember well.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: “In Bahrain we aim to bring the first major overseas stint to a positive end. It also marks the end of the second set of back-to-back races within five weeks. We look back on the previous Bahrain Grand Prix with satisfaction: in 2008 Robert gained his first ever pole position with the BMW Sauber F1 Team, achieving another milestone. After our appearance in Shanghai we are now heading for another region that is important to BMW. For us as a manufacturer in the premium sector the Middle East is also a very significant market.”

Willy Rampf, Head of Engineering: “The Bahrain circuit demands a compromise when it comes to aerodynamic set-up. On the one hand the many slow corners require a high level of downforce, while on the other the exceptional breadth of the track encourages the drivers to overtake, which means we can’t leave maximum speed out of the equation. With the low-speed corners, traction and brake balance play a major role. Brake wear on this circuit is particularly high, especially in the turn after the start-finish straight and in turn 4. At night the wind regularly sweeps sand onto the track. Generally conditions improve as the day goes on, but tyre wear can nevertheless be fairly high on account of the sand. That is an important factor for the race strategy.”

Circuit/Date Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir / 26th April 2009
Start time (local/UTC) 15.00 hrs / 12.00 hrs (14.00 in Central Europe)
Lap/Race distance 5.412 km / 308.238 km (57 laps)
Corners 9 right-hand and 6 left-hand corners
Winner 2008: Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, 1 hr 31:06.970 min
Pole position 2008: Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber F1 Team, 1:33.096 min
Fastest lap 2008: Heikki Kovalainen, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, 1:33.193 min

Data 2008
Full-throttle percentage: 63%
Top speed: 309 km/h
Longest section at full throttle: 14 sec / 1,050 m
Gear changes per lap: 58
Tyre wear: medium
Brake wear: high
Downforce level: medium

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Postby Ed » Sat Apr 25, 2009 12:35 am

Bahrain Grand Prix – Free Practice, Friday – 24.04.09

Weather: sunny and dry, 33-38°C Air, 44-55°C
Track Sakhir (BH).

After the wet and cold Chinese Grand Prix the Formula 1 teams were practicing in dry desert heat with air temperatures up to 38 degree Celsius at the Bahrain International Circuit. Because its track lay-out favours the use of the kinetic energy recovery system both BMW Sauber F1.09 are fitted with it. Nick Heidfeld was second and last in the two 90 minute practice sessions on Friday, while Robert Kubica came third in the morning and 17th in the afternoon.

Nick Heidfeld: BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
1st Free Practice: 2nd, 1:33.907 min / 2nd Free Practice: 20th, 1:34.790 min
“Obviously we looked better in the morning session than we did in the afternoon. The difference in the balance with the softer Option tyres compared to the harder Prime tyres is quite big here, which makes it really difficult to set-up the car. I also had a lack of brake stability and the track didn’t have much grip, but this is rather normal on a Friday in Bahrain. We will now look into all the data and see what we will do tomorrow.”

Robert Kubica: BMW Sauber F1.09-05 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
1st Free Practice: 3rd, 1:33.938 min / 2nd Free Practice: 17th, 1:34.605 min
“It was a usual Friday for us. We compared the tyre compounds and worked on the car balance. Additionally we worked on the KERS set-up, which is challenging as the temperatures here are quite high. We will now analyse the data and try to improve for tomorrow.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): ”We completed our Friday programme without any problems. As usual we concentrated on race preparation, the tyre comparisons and adapting to the KERS. The data will now we analysed. Last year the field was covered by 4.3 seconds, today it was only 1.4 seconds! So we can assume it will be a very close qualifying tomorrow.”

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Postby Ed » Sat May 09, 2009 1:35 am

Bahrain Grand Prix – Qualifying, Saturday – 25.04.09
Weather: dry and sunny, 36-38°C Air, 45-51°C Track

Neither BMW Sauber F1 Team driver was satisfied with qualifying for the Bahrain Grand Prix. Robert Kubica was 13th while his team mate, Nick Heidfeld, finished 14th. Besides a general lack of the car’s performance, both were struggling with an inconsistent car balance.

Robert Kubica: BMW Sauber F1.09-05 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
Qualifying 13th, 1:33.487 min in Q2 (3rd Free Practice: 7th, 1:33.195 min)
“We already knew before qualifying it would be difficult today. We lack overall performance. In qualifying 2 I struggled with the grip of the new option tyres. Additionally, our radio didn’t work today so, as a result, it was quite hard to fine-tune tyre pressures and stuff like that. On top of that, we also had two small fires during refuelling in the pits. Although this didn’t influence the performance, it didn’t help. However, we now have to go on working in a concentrated and calm way.”

Nick Heidfeld: BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
Qualifying 14th, 1:33.562 min in Q2 (3rd Free Practice: 10th, 1:33.415 min)
“This was quite a difficult qualifying for us. A lack of pace is obvious and, as we are waiting for our aerodynamic update for Barcelona, it is clear we lose lap time in comparison to competitors who already have new parts. At least we knew this before qualifying. Also today the car’s balance between the runs was very inconsistent. On my second run in Q2 I was quicker than on my first of that session, but not as quick as in Q1. I was really fighting hard and missed the apex in turn nine. It seems unlikely we can collect points tomorrow, but certainly we will not give up and will try everything.”

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “Qualifying was as difficult as expected after seeing the close gaps in free practice. One point five seconds between first and last means every weakness will result in a loss of a few grid positions. In the decisive second run in Q2 both our drivers complained about the car’s inconsistent balance and because of that were not able to fight for the top ten.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “Of course we cannot be satisfied with our starting positions. After an acceptable Q1, in Q2 we were – in comparison to most of the others – not able to improve on our times from the first part of qualifying. This was the case, although the track conditions had improved. The reason for this has to be analysed. From these positions it will be very difficult to score in tomorrow’s race.”

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Postby Ed » Sat May 09, 2009 1:37 am

Bahrain Grand Prix – Race, Sunday – 26.04.09
Weather: sunny and dry, 35-36°C Air, 47-50°C Track

The Chinese Grand Prix was bad, and the Bahrain GP even worse. Thanks to starting from rather hopeless grid positions, the BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers found themselves at the back of the pack after being involved in first corner incidents. Robert Kubica finished 18th and Nick Heidfeld 19th. The team now awaits the update of the F1.09 for the Spanish Grand Prix.

Robert Kubica: 18th BMW Sauber F1.09-05 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
Fastest lap: 1.35,706 in lap 50 (13th fastest overall)
“My race was destroyed after corner one. I was between Nick and another car, we touched each other and I destroyed my front wing. Then after the crash there was a miscommunication with the pit crew. I asked to come in straight away, but was only able to pit after the second lap. Then the race was very difficult, as for a long time I was in a heavy car on prime tyres. We were really nowhere with our pace. I hope we make a big step forward in Barcelona.”

Nick Heidfeld: 19th BMW Sauber F1.09-04 / BMW P86/9 (KERS)
Fastest lap: 1:35.924 min in lap 52 (16th fastest overall)
“The result is a disaster, although we were unlucky with the collision in the first corner. At first I thought the suspension was broken, but I only had to have a new nose fitted in the pits and then continued. The first half of the race with the harder tyres was difficult, but the softer compound made it a little bit easier. However, it is another race to forget and we all hope for improvements in Barcelona.”

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “We knew it would be another difficult race weekend for us, and it was also clear the danger of a collision would be higher the further down the grid we were. As we feared, both our drivers had early collisions and as a result the race was practically over. During the pit stops we gave them a lot of fuel and sent them out with hard tyres, because the only chance of getting back into the race would have been during a safety-car period. But even if this had happened scoring a point would have been impossible. We are now concentrating on the next race in Barcelona, where we will compete with a new aero package.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “Our starting positions were not good at all. And then our race was practically over just after the start. After the collisions and the necessary repairs neither driver had a chance to really get back into the race. Now we have to look forward. In Barcelona we will have an improved car.”


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