Theissen ready for engine challenge

BMW is expecting to make another step forward in 2004 and one challenge the manufacturer has been working on for some time is preparing an engine that will last a whole race weekend. With the regulation changes, F1 engines now have to be able to run reliably for up to 800 km and if changed in the event of a failure, the team faces a stiff penalty.

Dr Mario Theissen.
Photo by BMW PressClub.
"The engines virtually have to endure twice the distance," said BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen. "In 2002, we had three engines per race weekend at our disposal. In 2003, we had two; in 2004, we will only have one. So, one engine has to complete a total of 700 to 800 km per weekend. This is really a great challenge."

The new BMW P84 has already been bench and track tested and the manufacturer has been focusing on the life expectancy of components as much as the other considerations. "We've checked the whole concept and optimised life expectancy of every single component," said Theissen.

"So far, almost half of the elements, such as piston or connecting rod, had been replaced after about one race distance. Now, they also have to endure 800 km instead of 300. The trick to it is to save as much material as possible without risking too much."

The Williams FW26 is due to be launched on January 5th, at Valencia, Spain.