BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Theissen, gives an inside view of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team's preparations for the fourth Grand Prix of the 2004 Formula One Championship at Imola. Dr Mario Theissen and Ralf Schumacher. Photo by BMW ...
BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Theissen, gives an inside view of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team's preparations for the fourth Grand Prix of the 2004 Formula One Championship at Imola.
"After three sumptuous and exotic Grands Prix, we are now going to contest the first race of the year on European soil. From a logistical point of view, this makes our work easier. Not only because of reduced travel for the team members, but also the ease in transporting equipment. Also, we have our trucks and motorhomes available. Our BMW engine transporter is far more than just a truck. Its lower floor is a custom-made spare-parts depot and a repair shop, while the second floor is 'home' to the engineers and their computers."
"The BMW motorhome, our second semi-trailer, is also more than just a posh canteen. Its interior is a kind of space-age office. Each square metre is optimally and functionally equipped. In other words: we are looking forward to the improved working conditions they offer. This will be particularly helpful at Imola where the facilities are not really state-of-the-art. As a result, Formula One is already discussing not returning to Imola in 2005."
"The team has truly fond memories of the 2001 San Marino Grand Prix, as this was the race in which Ralf Schumacher took the maiden victory for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team. Since then, the team has gained nine Grand Prix wins, but the maiden victory will always remain an unforgettable moment."
"To be honest, I have to say that I don't think we are currently able to win a race by ourselves. After the early launch of the WilliamsF1 BMW FW26 and our excellent winter tests, we were tipped as favourites by many experts and fans. It has to be said that our pre-season preparations were really promising - however, our rivals made more progress than expected. Now we are the hunters and want to close the gap consistently; just as we did over the course of the 2003 season. We are giving our very best to make it to the top again in 2004."
"In February, the team was at Imola, the weather turned out to be a real nightmare, however I hope this won't be the case at the San Marino Grand Prix this weekend. The 'Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari' makes great demands on the engines both in terms of power output and reliability. A high downforce set-up is a must for this undulating circuit."
"When it comes to the further development of the BMW P84 engine, we are still focusing on reliability. Concerning the performance, we are working on being able to make the revs and peak performance used in qualifying available over the entire race distance - in the second half of the engines' 800 kilometre life cycle."
"In Munich, we are trying absolutely everything to exploit the engine's full improvement potential. And WilliamsF1 in Grove is working just as hard. The drivers want to make it back to the top and Michelin is supporting us vigorously. We all want to achieve another exchange of roles, to become the hunted instead of being the hunter. This can't be done overnight, but we still are in the early stages of the season."