Spanish GP: Williams preview

The BMW WilliamsF1 Team heads to Barcelona next week for the fifth round of the 2005 season, the Spanish Grand Prix. Despite the teams' familiarity with the circuit as a testing venue, the race at the Circuit de Catalunya is one of the most ...

The BMW WilliamsF1 Team heads to Barcelona next week for the fifth round of the 2005 season, the Spanish Grand Prix. Despite the teams' familiarity with the circuit as a testing venue, the race at the Circuit de Catalunya is one of the most demanding on the Formula One calendar. The region's erratic weather conditions provide a continual challenge to the cars' set-up while prevailing winds can compromise aerodynamic efficiency.

Having won over one third of the Spanish GPs held at the Catalunya track, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team is looking forward to drawing upon its experience in Barcelona next weekend. The team is also hoping that progress at the Silverstone test this week, combined with further aero developments for the cars, will provide a solid foundation to help drive the FW27s to a successful result.

Mark Webber:

"We do a huge amount of testing at Barcelona throughout the year so all the teams know the venue particularly well. I like the track and so really hope we'll be able to collect some good points there. I think there's going to be a special atmosphere at the Spanish Grand Prix this year because Fernando Alonso is leading the Championship. It's fantastic for Formula One to see so many people so passionate about this sport in that part of the world!"

Nick Heidfeld:

"I am looking forward to racing in Barcelona. It's a very technical circuit and it's quite difficult to drive there, but everybody, the teams and the drivers, know it very well as we do a lot of testing there. They laid new tarmac over the winter which changed the circuit quite a lot so it will be very different from last year, especially as far as the tyres are concerned. Still, I think we should be in reasonable shape."

Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1):

"We spent this week testing at Silverstone circuit and made progress on set-up and tyres in wet and dry conditions. We also spent a lot of the time working on our starts. It's often hard to find a good balance on the car in Barcelona and, with the changeable conditions, the set-up continually evolves. Due to re-surfacing in January, the track has changed causing the circuit to be less demanding on tyres. Not as much testing is done at Barcelona as it used to be, but it is still more than the normal race tracks where you don't test at all."

"We will have some further aerodynamic improvements on the cars since the last GP, mainly around the front of the car, and Michelin have two good compounds that we have tested. All of these steps should help us to move the FW27 further up the grid. Qualifying and the start are the most important things to get right. Strategy will be interesting as well because overtaking is so difficult on this track."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):

"The longest flat out section of the Circuit de Catalunya measures 982 metres. You therefore need every last drop of power, although aerodynamics and drag also play a role in determining top speed. On the whole, the load on the engine is fairly average in Barcelona, with the full throttle ratio standing at 51 percent per lap."

"It will be Mark Webber's turn to run with a new engine at the Spanish Grand Prix, while Nick Heidfeld will continue with the BMW P84/5 he used in Imola. Since the introduction of the current regulation stipulating that the teams' engines each have to last for two GP weekends, some key data has become more stable. As a general rule, we have been reducing maximum revs by 1,000 rpm for free practice on Friday. The evidence suggests that this does not have any noticeable effect on tyre choice."

"During the race, however, we can call on maximum engine output at any time and make decisions according to the situation in hand. In simple terms, this means that it is not worth pushing an engine to the limit if the driver is stuck in traffic. This allows us to preserve the engine's reserves of power for situations where there is greater potential for success."

"Generally speaking, the peak output of one of these engines will diminish during its service life. However, this loss of power is only in the region of ten bhp, and therefore not serious enough to affect the outcome of a race."

"We are delighted to see the huge increase in interest in Formula One among the Spanish public, due primarily to the success of Fernando Alonso. The organisers report that all 115,000 tickets have been sold for the race Sunday."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Nick Heidfeld , Fernando Alonso , Mario Theissen
Teams Williams