After the testing environment of Barcelona, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team moves to the relative tranquillity of the A1-Ring in Spielberg, Austria, for round six of the FIA Formula One World Championship. After a Spanish Grand Prix that presented its...
After the testing environment of Barcelona, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team moves to the relative tranquillity of the A1-Ring in Spielberg, Austria, for round six of the FIA Formula One World Championship. After a Spanish Grand Prix that presented its fair share of challenges, the team was satisfied with a podium finish to stay a comfortable thirty points ahead of its nearest rival, while limiting the points deficit to Championship leaders, Ferrari, to seven.
Hard on the heels of the Spanish race, the team had redoubled its testing efforts with a week of parallel sessions in Valencia and Danielson, deploying three drivers to make every effort to arrive in Austria in the most competitive form.
Juan Pablo Montoya:
"The A1-Ring is an interesting track because it's quick. I do like it, I've got to say. It's quite simple and very low grip circuit but, again, that makes it a fun place to race. Unlike most of the circuits we race at, the Austrian circuit is literally in the middle of nowhere! We showed strongly there last year, even though Ralf and I failed to score a single point due to technical problems when we were both running in good positions. I am pretty confident that in Austria we will be quite strong, certainly stronger than in Barcelona, so I am looking forward to it."
"I said before the Spanish Grand Prix - and nothing has changed since - that we will be closer to Ferrari in Austria, simply because the circuit suits our car. We will have some new parts which should make us more competitive on the A1-Ring with its long straights and high speed corners. I hope that after Barcelona everybody from our team - including myself - has done their homework well. Then we will have paved the way to a successful weekend."
Sam Michael, Chief Operations Engineer, WilliamsF1:
"Austria's undulating Zeltweg circuit presents a different challenge to the drivers and engineers. The nature of the track surface means that you have to think carefully about tyre management, particularly during a qualifying session. With three long straights rewarding engine power and then two sections of maximum downforce, this track forces a compromise set-up for the optimum lap time. Strategy is not clear because of the tyre degradation combined with slow corners onto long straights creating two or three overtaking opportunities. Michelin produced a tyre that enabled us to tie up the front row last year, and I am sure they will arrive with a competitive selection this year."
Gerhard Berger, BMW Motorsport Director:
"The Austrian Grand Prix is still a home Grand Prix for me as it was when I was a driver and this makes it somehow special. The A1-Ring has one the highest full throttle percentages of all current Formula One tracks and this demand should suit our BMW engine as we showed during qualifying in 2001. Furthermore, tyres are crucial in Austria and it is difficult to say in advance how the competition between the two tyre manufacturers has developed. After Ferrari's performance in the last races, it would be unrealistic to think we could match them at the next race. But we hope to again be the main challenger in Austria. The BMW WilliamsF1 Team has covered the highest number of race laps so far in 2002 and this reliability should help us to collect some more points in the World Championship."