German GP: BMW Sauber preview

Two home races on German circuits is a welcome luxury for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, but one that may soon be a thing of the past. The German Grand Prix that takes place in Hockenheim on 30th July is the 12th of 18 World Championship races and means...

Two home races on German circuits is a welcome luxury for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, but one that may soon be a thing of the past. The German Grand Prix that takes place in Hockenheim on 30th July is the 12th of 18 World Championship races and means two thirds of the 2006 season is now over, while at the same time launching a brace of back-to-back GPs. Just a week later, Formula One will be contesting its next round 1,000 kilometres away in Budapest.

In preparation for the German GP, the BMW Sauber F1 Team has been testing in Jerez and has come up with further aerodynamic innovations. Currently the team is just one point adrift of fifth place in the intermediate standings for the constructors’ championship.

Nick Heidfeld:

“As the home Grand Prix, the German GP is naturally something special for me. A lot of fans are sure to come over from Switzerland too, as has always been the case. So I’m really looking forward to the crowds in Hockenheim. The unique stadium atmosphere in the Motodrom will also add to the mood."

"Basically I preferred the old Hockenheimring. The long forest straights meant that you drove with limited downforce, a set-up that made the later, twisty part of the track very difficult. I enjoyed that challenge. But of course there’s a lot to be said for the new lay out. The fans can see more, the track is safer, and there’s a good overtaking opportunity on the Parabolika."

"In terms of its characteristics, Hockenheim is not a very physical circuit. But that could change if it turns out to be as hot as it has been on a couple of occasions.”

Jacques Villeneuve:

“I have fond memories mainly of the old track. The current lay out is no longer a low- downforce circuit and is similar to some of the other modern race tracks we drive on. There are a few good braking zones as well as passing opportunities, which make the races interesting. It is likely to be very hot in Hockenheim. Recently, our strength has not been in hot races or tracks requiring a lot of downforce. We will be doing our level best.”

Robert Kubica:

“I know this track fairly well because I often drove there in my Formula 3 years. So for me it isn’t a case of getting to know the circuit first. I’m hoping we’ll have some productive practice sessions on Friday. It would also be nice if it was a bit cooler. That seems to make things easier.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:

“The German Grand Prix is a highlight of the season for BMW, not just because we enjoy a lot of attention as a German manufacturer with a German driver in the team. The atmosphere at Hockenheim, especially in the Motodrom, is truly impressive. The current track, moreover, allows for passing manoeuvres, which makes for exciting race action."

"Our sporting objectives for Hockenheim are the same as for recent races: we aim to make it into the top ten qualifying and hope to get into the points on Sunday. In the battle for fifth place in the constructors’ championship, we’ll have to pull out all the stops. Toyota was clearly strong in France. We will maintain our pace of development, if not step it up further in the course of the season."

"Both BMW P86 engines in Nick’s and Jacques’ cars withstood the hot race in Magny- Cours without any trouble and in all likelihood will have to put up with high thermal loads again in Hockenheim. Added to that, Hockenheim remains an engine circuit even after its redesign.”

Willy Rampf, Technical Director:

“Hockenheim is a course with numerous low- and medium-speed turns that demand plenty of downforce. At the same time, the Parabolika is a long flat-out section where top speeds are key, since braking into the hairpin that follows offers a good opportunity to overtake. That requires good braking stability as well as maximum speed."

"When accelerating out of the slow turns in particular, you also need good traction. Hockenheim is frequently very hot, which means efficient cooling is essential. The heat also takes its toll on the tyres, where the greatest hazard is blistering. You have to try and counteract that by using appropriate compounds."

"To improve our performance further we are aggressively driving forward aerodynamic developments. In addition to the nose wings introduced in Magny-Cours, we will be using another new aero package in Hockenheim.”


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