Despite a disappointing result in Barcelona, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team are approaching the Austrian Grand Prix with measured enthusiasm following a successful week's testing at Le Castellet where both Ralf Schumacher and test driver Marc GenÃ©...
Despite a disappointing result in Barcelona, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team are approaching the Austrian Grand Prix with measured enthusiasm following a successful week's testing at Le Castellet where both Ralf Schumacher and test driver Marc Gené topped the time sheets.
The A1-Ring demands a compromised set up of the car. Long straights reward the power of the BMW engine, but a balance is required for the high downforce corners. Although not as challenging as the Circuit de Catalunya, managing the balance between downforce and drag is critical. In recent years, the team has secured impressive results in Austria. 2002 saw Montoya cross the finish line in third position and Ralf secure a solid fourth place. As Ralf's home race, the team have high aspirations for a successful Austrian Grand Prix.
"Our true potential was not mirrored in the final result we achieved in Barcelona. However, our performance during the first third of the race should give us some optimism for the remainder of the season and we need to build on that. We therefore continued our intensive testing schedule this week in Le Castellet and I'm convinced we've made progress in all areas which we hope to be able to translate into a successful result in Austria."
"On a personal level, it would be great to be competive as racing at the A1-Ring is almost a home Grand Prix for me. The fans are fantastic and create an infectious atmosphere, spurring you on to the finish line. It's a shame that this race is being dropped from the calendar for the foreseeable future. Hopefully we'll be able to say goodbye with a positive finish."
Juan Pablo Montoya:
"Hopefully this will be a good race for us. The track's a fairly complex one set-up wise but it's quick and suits my driving style. Ralf and Marc have been testing some new parts in Paul Ricard this week, so it will be interesting to see if the car has improved since Barcelona. Last year, I managed to score a podium position, so I'm looking to repeat that this year and consolidate our position in the Championship."
Sam Michael (Chief Operations Engineer, WilliamsF1):
"After gaining valuable points in Barcelona, the team is looking forward to Austria. The A1- Ring is an undulating circuit; it therefore presents a significant challenge when it comes to setting up the cars. Tyre management is of critical importance due to the nature of the track, particularly with the new qualifying and racing regulations. With three long straights rewarding engine power, and two sections of maximum downforce, this track forces a compromised set-up to achieve optimum lap times."
"We've been running the FW25 at Paul Ricard this week with Ralf and Marc sharing testing duties. Predominantly we focused on tyre testing as well as spending some time evaluating brake materials, the suspension and the aero package. We feel we've made some good progress which we hope to be able to demonstrate on the track next weekend."
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):
"For us, the positive aspect of the Spanish Grand Prix was that the BMW P83 proved itself once again, and we managed to collect nine points with fourth and fifth placed finishes. In Austria, the set-up work shouldn't prove quite as difficult as a fortnight ago in Barcelona. For the three straights that allow passing opportunities, we'll be relying on the power of the engine."
"The A1-Ring isn't a high-speed circuit as such, but with engines under full load for 70 per cent of the lap, it has one of the highest ratings of all GP circuits. BMW has always had a special affection for the Austrian GP, not least because of its proximity to Munich. We hope we will be able to say farewell to the circuit with a worthy race result."