Bahrain GP: Williams preview

After a confident start to the 2005 season, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team travels to the unique desert setting of Sakhir for the Bahrain Grand Prix. The team hopes to capitalise on an intense period of development which has seen an unprecedented number...

After a confident start to the 2005 season, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team travels to the unique desert setting of Sakhir for the Bahrain Grand Prix. The team hopes to capitalise on an intense period of development which has seen an unprecedented number of changes brought to the FW27.

With varying fortunes in the first two races of the year, the team's driver pairing of Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber will be seeking to lead the team in a strong and consistent performance in the Middle East before the start of the European season.

Nick Heidfeld:

"I feel very confident after my podium in Malaysia, so I am looking forward to the next race in Bahrain. The circuit can be very dirty as it lies in the middle of the desert, so we might see even less people going out at the beginning of the sessions than usual, in particular on the Friday."

"I think last year's race in Bahrain was one of the most exciting Grands Prix of the season, so it's likely that the fans will see another great race. Like Malaysia, Bahrain will be a hot race, and so a tough challenge for the car, especially the engine. Bahrain will be the second race in a row for my engine, as well as for some of the other drivers on the grid."

Mark Webber:

"After such an exciting race in Malaysia, we're expecting Bahrain to be fairly similar. We're clearly showing good progress with both Nick and myself running well in Malaysia, although it was a shame I wasn't able to finish the job."

"However, Bahrain is a very different circuit to Malaysia with a lot of slow corners and long straights. It produced a very good Grand Prix last year with lots of overtaking and I'm hoping we can get closer to Renault, the current pacesetters, this time round."

Sam Michael (Technical Director WilliamsF1):

"Following the improved performance of the FW27 seen in Malaysia, we are looking forward to the Bahrain Grand Prix. The FW27 is getting faster, but it is still not quick enough to be competing at the front yet, but that is definitely our target."

"The Bahrain circuit has some long straights and slow speed corners which drive the minimum lift to drag ratio requirement upwards. Although it is still a high downforce circuit, this means that minimizing drag is important in Bahrain. It will therefore be interesting to see where all the teams are placed. Based on last year's race, there are plenty of overtaking opportunities as well which should provide for an exciting Grand Prix."

"We will have some more aerodynamic improvements for the FW27 in Bahrain and Michelin will bring one known, and one new, tyre choice. In terms of compound hardness, we were still slightly conservative in the last Grand Prix, but Michelin are getting much closer to the optimum compound region now."

"Pit stop strategy is likely to be similar to that seen in the first two races. Aside from driver mistakes, once the Saturday qualifying session has been run it is quite difficult to significantly move grid position from the Sunday qualifying session as the effect of fuel load has been halved."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):

"The Malaysian Grand Prix confirmed two things. Firstly, the competition has changed in comparison to what it was in 2004. Secondly, the enormous efforts that have been put into the development of the chassis have bared fruit. In addition, our drivers have demonstrated their impressive racing ability."

"From BMW's perspective, Sepang was the biggest challenge we have faced since returning to Formula One. Not only because of the extreme heat in Malaysia, but also because Mark's BMW P84/5 engine had already run the entire Australian Grand Prix two weekends before."

"Despite this, we did not encounter any problems with the engines. That is encouraging, but we still need to be prepared for more heat in Bahrain. Mark will have a fresh engine for the Bahrain Grand Prix while Nick will continue to run the same one he raced in Malaysia."

"Because of the dry desert wind, we might have to deal with very fine sand in Bahrain. In order to protect the engine's air intake from this potential problem, we have prepared a finer air filter which features a denser weave that we will take to Bahrain. The balancing act is to provide as much protection as necessary without reducing the air flow."

-williams-

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