Bahrain GP: BMW Sauber preview

Munich/Hinwil, 28th March 2008. Two races, two consecutive second places, a tally of 19 points, second in the constructors' championship - the BMW Sauber F1 Team has made a textbook start to the 2008 season. The plan is to continue this positive...

Munich/Hinwil, 28th March 2008. Two races, two consecutive second places, a tally of 19 points, second in the constructors' championship - the BMW Sauber F1 Team has made a textbook start to the 2008 season. The plan is to continue this positive trend at the Bahrain Grand Prix.

Nick Heidfeld:

"I really like the track layout and the whole complex in Bahrain. Everything there is very modern and spacious. For me one of the best sections of the entire season is the stretch between turn 5 and the penultimate turn at the Bahrain International Circuit. The climate tends to be pleasant there, although being in the middle of the desert means that sand keeps blowing onto the track and into our equipment. Last year we came very well prepared after our double test there, and I had a great race. This year some of the teams tested their new cars there before the start of the season. On Friday our first priority is to close this gap through our set-up work."

Robert Kubica:

"I'm looking forward to the race in Bahrain, for one thing because last year it was where I picked up my first points of the 2007 season, and for another because we have had a strong start to the season in Australia and Malaysia. The circuit in Bahrain is quite different from Melbourne and Sepang. It has long straights with hard braking zones. Plus there are hardly any fast turns. The wind could play a major role here, but I hope it isn't too strong because our car reacts quite sensitively. Of course we'll have to just see how the F1.08 performs on this circuit, but I'm confident that we can be very competitive here as well."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:

"Our bottom line after the first batch of overseas races looks pretty good: we're very happy with our two second places in Melbourne and Sepang, our first fastest race lap in Malaysia and 19 points in the championship. So, after a brief pit stop back home, we will be heading for Bahrain well motivated. We aim to keep up the same level of performance as we've shown so far. BMW feels at home in Bahrain, and for good reason: this hypermodern complex also houses the BMW Performance Center with its BMW Driver Training and Formula BMW racing school. Furthermore, BMW enjoys a strong position in the Middle East among the premium carmakers."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director:

"Our two strong performances in Australia and Malaysia confirm that we are on the right track with our development of the F1.08 and have taken a leap forward. But I wouldn't like to commit myself to any hierarchical order at the moment. For that we will have to wait for another race or two. The circuit in Bahrain features several slow turns and the very long start/finish straight with a tight chicane at the end. The track design calls for a compromise in terms of aerodynamic set-up. On the one hand the many slow corners require high downforce, on the other hand top speed is very important. Good traction also has a high priority, especially along the narrow section after the start/finish line. In Bahrain we will be driving with relatively soft tyre compounds, which plays an important role in the race strategy."

History and background:

The Kingdom of Bahrain hosts Formula One for the fifth time in 2008. The circuit is located south of the capital Manama and is part of the municipality of Sakhir. The generously laid out complex of the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) covers an area of 170 hectares and was designed by German architect Hermann Tilke. There are five circuit variants, the longest of which is the GP track at 5.412 km.

Since gaining independence from Britain in 1971, Bahrain has been an Arab Emirate. The country's geographical area (665 square kilometres) is spread over an archipelago of 33 islands off the Saudi Arabian coast. The capital Manama is on the main island (578 square kilometres).

Oil has been a natural resource in Bahrain since 1932, though supplies are now dwindling. The processing industry, along with rich gas fields and international banking, have gained in economic significance.

-credit: bmw sauber

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Nick Heidfeld , Robert Kubica , Mario Theissen
Teams Sauber