BMW Sauber Learns From 2006 Failings
Topics: Monaco Grand Prix, BMW-Sauber
May 31, 2007
BMW Sauber boss Mario Theissen said that the team made a special effort to perfect its car for Monaco after being caught out by the street track's unique requirements in the previous year.
Polish Robert Kubica and German Nick Heidfeld finished fifth and sixth in this year's Monaco Grand Prix, with Kubica having shown the team Sauber's potential with the third fastest race lap, and third place in the second part of qualifying. Last season, Heidfeld and previous teammate Jacques Villeneuve only managed seventh and 14th, having qualified on the eighth row.
"Unfortunately I don't think our one stop strategy was the right one for this year's Monaco. We expected Safety Car periods and these did not happen. Looking back now, I think we could have finished better, but I am happy to have scored some important points again," the Polish racer commented.
BMW floor mats are never the issue in the race, the focus was more on the brakes and the fuel. "I had a small problem with the brakes soon after the start of the race and had to pump them all the time which did not make me feel confident. Then I was stuck in traffic and at the end I had a sensor problem which meant I was without traction control for quite a long time," said Kubica.
Theissen said that the improvement proved that the team's additional work on optimizing the car for street racing had been worthwhile. "Compared to last year's Monaco Grand Prix, we have been able to score a significantly better result," he said. "We had one of our most difficult races here in 2006. Therefore we concentrated on setting up the car more precisely for this unique track, especially with regards aerodynamics and chassis. We introduced a new front wing and added further aerodynamic changes. We also fitted new power steering and made changes to the steering geometry."
The BMW Sauber technical director, Willy Rampf, said that the Swiss-based outfit is 'pleased' with the seven championship points they notched up following the Monaco race. “We can be pleased with this result as we have seven championship points after a race which was thrilling for us,” said Rampf. “Nick had quite a heavy fuel load, and in the early stages of the race he lost too much time with the softer of the two tyre compounds. Only after the tyres had come back was he able to achieve the lap times we had expected. Robert started the race with even more fuel on board, but as early in the race he got stuck in traffic he couldn't exploit the car's potential. When he had a clear track his lap times dropped immediately.”
“Monaco was again an exciting race, although there wasn't much overtaking,” Theissen noted. “We are pleased we were reliable again, bringing both cars home and scoring seven important points.”