BMW WilliamsF1 Team star Ralf Schumacher is poised to become the first Formula One driver to lap the new Bahrain International Circuit. The 28-year-old German - winner of six world championship Grands Prix - will try out the recently-laid...
BMW WilliamsF1 Team star Ralf Schumacher is poised to become the first Formula One driver to lap the new Bahrain International Circuit. The 28-year-old German - winner of six world championship Grands Prix - will try out the recently-laid track next Tuesday, December 16, at the wheel of a BMW X5 road car.
Ralf will have to wait, however, for an opportunity to get a feel for the 5.410-kilometre (3.362- mile) circuit from behind the wheel of his Williams BMW FW26. Practice for the 2004 Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix begins on April 2 next year - two days before the third race of the Formula One season, the first event of its kind to be staged in the Middle East. Construction of the circuit is continuing around the clock and the first of its three layers of asphalt was completed earlier this month.
Ralf Schumacher says: I think it is brilliant that Formula One is spreading its wings to different parts of the world. Everything I have heard leads me to believe that the Bahrain facilities will be fantastic when they are finished and this trip gives me an opportunity to assess progress for myself. I'm really looking forward to it."
Schumacher and the BMW WilliamsF1 Team will give the region an early taste of the sport's sights and sounds during their visit. Once he has completed a few exploratory laps of the track - which is located in Sakhir, to the south of Bahraini capital Manama - Ralf will travel to a nearby kart circuit to participate in a specially-arranged Pit Stop Challenge.
Media representatives, circuit officials and team sponsors will go head-to-head in a race to change the wheels and tyres on a Williams BMW FW24, the team's 2003 world championship contender. During a typical Grand Prix pit stop, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team pit crew will accomplish this in less than four seconds.