BMW Sauber to expand aero department

BMW Sauber to expand aero department

BMW has ambitious plans now it has taken over Sauber to run as a team in its own right and one area that it intends to expand is the aerodynamics department. The new V8 engine bought modifications to the chassis design, which is overseen at the ...

BMW has ambitious plans now it has taken over Sauber to run as a team in its own right and one area that it intends to expand is the aerodynamics department. The new V8 engine bought modifications to the chassis design, which is overseen at the Hinwil factory, and the F1.06 has some noticeable differences to its predecessor.

Willy Rampf and Mario Theissen talk about the new car.
Photo by Mark Gledhill.

The chassis is lower at the front and the wishbones are attached to the side of the chassis rather than below the monococque. The nose is also lower and the front wing has been modified in line with the changes, all of which helps to optimise the air flow. The front and rear suspension is also new to fit with the focus on aerodynamics.

"Overall, aerodynamic performance is more important than in some previous years because the engine is less, so aerodynamic efficiency is very important," said chassis technical director Willy Rampf at the launch of the F1.06 in Valencia.

BMW Sauber recently signed Willem Toet, who previously worked with Ferrari and BAR, as head of aerodynamics. "Certainly Willem is one of the most experienced aerodynamicists in Formula One," said BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen. "He has worked with top teams and has led the direction in aerodynamics, so he will be the senior guy and give us direction."

"Our aero team will be expanded in a big way; we are taking on almost 50 people in the aero department alone in order to go from a one shift to three shift operation. And Willem Toet will take an instrumental role in facilitating the wind tunnel."

Naturally, all this development will not be instantaneous. "We are very confident that we have put everything in place, the resources are there," Theissen commented. "But it will take time, it won't happen overnight."

"We are taking on more than 100 people and we are building a new factory and that will go on through 2007. So that makes it clear immediately that we are on a several year programme. But we have confidence, we have the resources, the patience and the dedication to get there."

At the moment there is only one F1.06 chassis complete, which Nick Heidfeld put through its paces at Valencia for the first time on Tuesday, but more are not far behind. "We will start testing the second chassis at the beginning of February," said Rampf. "The third will come in mid to end of February."

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