San Marino Grand Prix - 12/13/14 April 2002 - PREVIEW After a promising start to the year, the beginning of the European season presents a new set of challenges for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team in order to retain its lead in the FIA World...
San Marino Grand Prix - 12/13/14 April 2002 - PREVIEW
After a promising start to the year, the beginning of the European season presents a new set of challenges for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team in order to retain its lead in the FIA World Championship. WilliamsF1 however has a noteworthy record as a constructor at
Imola with eight race wins since 1980, as against McLaren's six victories and Ferrari's three over the same period. More significantly, in 2001, the San Marino circuit was the venue for the first win for the BMW and WilliamsF1 partnership, and the occasion also marked Ralf Schumacher's maiden GP victory.
"To be perfectly honest, I would like to claim a victory that I missed in Brazil. The San Marino track suits me, with lots of fast parts, and of course last season I achieved my first victory there, so there is no reason why we shouldn't be very competitive again. In any case, Ferrari showed at Interlagos that their new car is quicker than the old one, so we must do our best and work hard for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team to be successful in Imola."
Juan Pablo Montoya:
"San Marino is a good track. I was quite unlucky last year, as I could have done better I think, but it was a wet weekend and I lost a lot of track time. Generally though, Italians are nice people and there's a great atmosphere there. It's good to be back racing in Europe after all the travelling in March. It's more relaxing, especially as do not have any long flights for a while. After the first three races of this season, we are quite confident we can continue our positive run in Imola, as the track, and hopefully the weather conditions, should suit our package."
Sam Michael (Chief Operations Engineer, WilliamsF1):
"At this time of the year, the weather at San Marino can be cold and wet. It is a circuit that rewards downforce, engine power and a mechanical setup for curbs. With medium to high speed corners, a couple of chicanes and a lot of braking, it is a challenge for the driver. Traction is also a significant issue."
"Although the strategy tends towards multi-stop, it is open and variations should make for an interesting race. It was good to see the qualifying grid a lot closer in Brazil which adds to the spectacle. Michelin took a very good tyre to the last race in Brazil and produced a race winner last year at Imola. With the steps they have taken since then I'm sure we will be in a competitive position."
Gerhard Berger (BMW Motorsport Director):
"After celebrating the partnership's first F1 victory in Imola last year as well as achieving very good results so far this season, we are naturally looking forward to the San Marino Grand Prix. Last year we got on very well with the circuit. It has uphill sections where the power of our engine pays dividends. Michelin was also very well prepared for Imola at its first attempt, and the balance and set-up of the car was another positive factor. Despite all of these advantages, it will be very hard to beat the new Ferrari at home. But we beat them last year here and we will try it again."
"Although several changes to the track were made some years ago, Imola is still an interesting circuit with a good atmosphere. It has fast corners that make high demands on the aerodynamic performance of the car. Recently commentary about Michael Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya has dominated the headlines, but next week this will be replaced by good sport again."