BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen reflects on the Bahrain Grand Prix, highlighting all its incidents from the BMW WilliamsF1 Team's point of view. "The inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix was an interesting experience. The circuit is truly ...
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen reflects on the Bahrain Grand Prix, highlighting all its incidents from the BMW WilliamsF1 Team's point of view.
"The inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix was an interesting experience. The circuit is truly fantastic. The track layout, the width of the track, the run-off areas, the garages, the offices, the electricity supply, the access roads...You have to take your hat off to those who have built this fantastic facility on the desert sands in just 16 months."
"Bahrain has spared no effort, and the entire country has worked flat out to welcome Formula One in style. When arriving at the airport, team members and media representatives were checked in at special counters speedily and straightforwardly. There were helpful people everywhere. Bahrain has welcomed Formula One in a style never previously experienced and has set new standards in several areas."
"On the eve of the Bahrain Grand Prix we focused on something completely different. In the BMW Formula One factory we thought about what we could do to make sure that the performance of our engines and gearboxes wouldn't be hampered by the desert sands. Concerning this issue, the air filter performance was of major importance."
"Therefore, we tested several finely woven fabrics to achieve the perfect amount of protection. The closer the fabrics, the better the protection, but on the other hand it mustn't be too close as this would cause a reduced air supply and consequently lead to a reduced horsepower output. With hindsight, we can say that our desert filter has proven its value."
"Some other minor development measures for the car have also turned out to be successful. Qualifying was a proof of our continued upward trend, particularly the first session with Ralf and Juan Pablo setting the fastest times. In this session, Ralf was the only driver to lap the circuit within less than 90 seconds."
"In the all important second session, we had the chance of taking pole position. It was a pity that Juan Pablo lost some time in the last corner and Ralf in the second and third sections. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable to see that our cars have got the potential to set fastest laps. And to gain both second-row grid positions has been our best qualifying result of the season so far.
"The race, however, didn't turn out as we had expected, or hoped for. Juan Pablo lost his third place due to a gearbox issue and finished 13th, while Ralf had a collision in the early stages but fought his way back to take seventh place, thus adding two points to our tally. However, despite our promising qualifying performance, it is obvious that Ferrari is still in a class of its own when it comes to contesting a race."
"Quite obviously we had hoped to return from the long-haul races with better results in our pockets. Now we will focus on intensifying and accelerating our development and analyse the race data to find out where we are behind."
"It may be impossible to close such a gap within three weeks, but we saw last year that it is possible to close an even bigger gap over the course of a season. And it is our goal for the 2004 season to repeat this feat. By all means, you may rely on us to do our homework. In Bahrain, we were half-a-second a lap slower than Michael Schumacher. This is quite a lot, but it is far from being an irredeemable situation."