British GP: BMW Sauber preview

The new BMW Sauber F1 Team has managed to take away points from five out of seven FIA Formula One World Championship races so far in 2006. The target for the forthcoming British Grand Prix at Silverstone on 11th June is to pick up a few more ...

The new BMW Sauber F1 Team has managed to take away points from five out of seven FIA Formula One World Championship races so far in 2006. The target for the forthcoming British Grand Prix at Silverstone on 11th June is to pick up a few more World Championship points.

To prepare for the race on this highly traditional and challenging circuit, the team had three days of testing on the Circuit de Calatalunya outside Barcelona. All three drivers spent time out on the track.

Apart from Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, Jacques Villeneuve is currently a very busy man: on Monday, 29th May, the BMW Sauber F1 Team driver married his fiancée Johanna at a civil ceremony in Switzerland surrounded by a small group of family members and close friends.

The marriage took place in the Chateau d’Aigle and was followed by an evening meal in Villars, where they will live. The religious ceremony takes place in the week before the British GP at a church in Paris, where a party will be given for over 200. The BMW Sauber F1 Team wishes the couple every happiness!

Immediately after the race at Silverstone, Villeneuve has another “commitment”: on 13th June he will be driving an F1 race car in London’s Hyde Park as part of an event organized by Official Corporate Partner Intel.

Nick Heidfeld:

“Silverstone is a classic in the racing calendar and a circuit that all the drivers and teams know very well because a lot of testing is done there. At the end of April we spent three days there with the BMW Sauber F1 Team. It’s a challenging track with a couple of fast corners."

"The Becketts combination, in particular, is great fun. But you also feel the wind there, which sometimes blasts in across the flat terrain. The other thing I like about this grand prix is the well-informed fans. England has a lot of genuine motor sport enthusiasts. They aren’t so much interested in the personalities as in the sport itself."

"Bad weather is something of a tradition in England. Rain doesn’t bother me; in fact it can add a bit of extra excitement. Fog, as in Spa, has been known to cause delays to the start of practice at Silverstone, even if visibility on the track is okay. No driving is allowed as long as weather conditions aren’t good enough to allow for the potential use of the emergency helicopter.”

Jacques Villeneuve:

“Since Monaco I have been busy. Not only have I done two days of testing, but I also found time to get married! This has been a very happy time for me and Johanna. We were married in front of our close family and friends and it was very special for both of us. We have also received many great messages, but now I have to concentrate on the race ahead, which I am looking forward to as I have won the British Grand Prix twice at Silverstone."

"There is always a big crowd, a great one, and it is a passionate one, so that makes it fun. It has gone better for us recently in the race than in qualifying and it is the type of track I like racing on, although I am not a big fan of qualifying there for some reason. Maybe it is the way we set the car up. Compared to other tracks, there are a lot of high-speed corners at Silverstone where we carry a lot of speed into them without braking. It is difficult to overtake on and quite a physical race."

"At the test we had there we were not extremely competitive, but the track has some fun corners to drive, even though I am not that fond of the two chicanes. Turn one can be fun and this year it will be flat out in qualifying for a few laps, so that could make it fun.”

Robert Kubica:

“Silverstone is nice, I did three days there at our recent test. There are some really fast corners, and the first sector is especially quick, with the first corner flat out. The track is a completely different challenge to Monaco and it will be good to see how well we perform. I am looking forward to going there. It was four years ago – in 2002 – that I was racing there in a Formula Renault."

"I think the weather might be a bit cold. We have to make sure our tyre temperatures are high enough after problems at the beginning of the season in cold conditions. I am looking forward to a weekend with good practice sessions on Friday.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:

“Our team will be buoyed up for the next grand prix because the World Championship points we earned in Monaco have shown us one thing above all: our fledgling team can handle pressure and unforeseen problems. We were dogged by a problem with the electronics during practice and qualifying, which affected set-up work, and that put us some way back on the grid in qualifying."

"But thanks to a concerted effort on the part of the team and drivers, Nick managed to advance from 15th to 7th place in the race. Those two points were hard-fought. We have now managed to take home points from five out of seven races. That is also our goal for the race at Silverstone."

"The car’s aerodynamics, set-up and tyres will be prepared for Silverstone during testing at Barcelona and at the Hinwil factory. The circuit also presents a challenge for the engine. With the V10s the full-throttle percentage was 58 percent, which was already above average. For the V8 engines, that has risen even further."

"Unlike Monaco, engine performance in Silverstone will again have a major impact on lap times. Nick will be driving with the same engine he had for the Monaco GP, while Jacques’ BMW Sauber F1.06 is scheduled for a fresh powerplant. The Silverstone GP has been the subject of frequent debate, but it’s a classic circuit.

"For BMW Group, Britain is the only market with production sites for all three of its brands: the Mini is built in Oxford, the Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, and BMW car engines are manufactured in Hams Hall. After the US and Germany, the UK is the third-biggest market for BMW Group and posts the highest Mini sales.”

Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis:

“Despite the restricted infield area, the Silverstone circuit has a high average speed due to its many medium and high-speed turns. For the drivers it’s a matter of carrying as much speed as possible into the straights. The circuit has a fluid sequence of turns, which makes for the lowest braking energy of the whole season, but at the same time means it is difficult to overtake."

"The car’s balance and stability are mainly determined by aerodynamics, and high efficiency is paramount on this track. We will have newly developed components on the car to improve the performance of the F1.06. Tyres will be subject to a lot of wear due to the track surface, which is why teams will tend to opt for a relatively hard compound.”


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Robert Kubica , Mario Theissen
Teams Sauber