European GP: BMW Sauber preview

For the first time since 1994, this season features a single Formula One race held in Germany - and it's entitled the "European Grand Prix" to boot. BMW and Nick Heidfeld are looking forward to their home race on the Nurburgring, and Robert Kubica...

For the first time since 1994, this season features a single Formula One race held in Germany - and it's entitled the "European Grand Prix" to boot. BMW and Nick Heidfeld are looking forward to their home race on the Nurburgring, and Robert Kubica is also confident of a good result for the BMW Sauber F1 Team in the Eifel on 22nd July.

While full concentration on the job is on the agenda in the actual pit lane, fans in the BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park will have an opportunity to put questions to Formula One experts and even try their hand at changing tyres and refuelling. They can also clock up some race laps in the Formula One simulator, get the low-down on F1, and see and handle various exhibits, including a Formula One engine.

Demonstration drives in the Formula One race car will take place several times a day, this time with Jorg Muller - the current FIA World Touring Car Championship leader - behind the wheel, as well as demo rides in Formula BMW cars. Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and reserve driver Sebastian Vettel will also be visiting the high-tech theme park to give interviews and sign autographs.

As last year, the Pit Lane Park will be set up in zone A7 and will be open daily from Friday to Sunday. Admission is free even without an F1 entry ticket. The Pit Lane Park will be open from 10.00 a.m. to 9.00 p.m. on Friday, 10.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m. on Saturday, and 11 a.m. to 8.00 p.m. on Sunday. On Saturday night from 7.45 p.m. it will be party time in the Pit Lane Park. Media with F1 accreditation are welcome to the BMW M Power Night, the highlight of the BMW M cars meeting.

As part of the support programme for the European Grand Prix, Formula BMW Germany will be staging rounds seven and eight as the season's highlight. Starting next season, Formula BMW Europe will be launched. Last year's rookie champion Jens Klingmann (Leimen) currently dominates the championship with five wins in six races. Heading the rookie rankings is Marco Wittmann (Markt Erlbach).

Nick Heidfeld:

"I am very much looking forward to the race on the Nurburgring. That's where the greatest number of my fans have always turned up, and thanks to this year's good results there will probably be a few more. When I drove the Formula One car round the Nordschleife at the end of April, the atmosphere there was fantastic."

"It's a good feeling having that kind of support, and one or other family members will also be coming along to the Ring. As a young kid I already had a lot of outings to the Nurburgring with my father and my two brothers as it isn't far away from Monchengladbach. Later on there were race wins in various classes to add to those pleasant childhood memories."

"I think we're pretty well prepared for the Ring. Our performance potential is a great motivator. Naturally it's a lot more fun when you know you're essentially in contention for points and good placings. If qualifying turns out better for me than at the last race in Silverstone, I should also be back in the running for the race."

Robert Kubica:

"Obviously when we go to the Nurburgring this will be the only grand prix in Germany this year. I am sure there will be a big crowd and a lot of people who will be fans of our team. I have to be honest and say I don't find the track spectacular."

"This will be my first grand prix on this track, but I have driven on the old track, when the first corner was a chicane, and practically every year since 2001 I have been racing on this track. Because of this I know the track pretty well and I also know the shorter version that the touring cars are using with the short cut after turns 6 and 7. I think it will be a good weekend and maybe after that my feelings for the track will change."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:

"The grand prix at the Nurburgring is the only Formula One home race for us in 2007. Naturally we are very excited at the prospect of this weekend. But you can't afford to lose your concentration. Home races don't earn you any more points than elsewhere."

"Our relationship with the Ring is a very close one. Every upcoming BMW production model is tested on the Nordschleife: that's part of our development programme. BMW has celebrated spectacular touring car successes in the Eifel, it has a Driver Training branch based there, as well as the Ring Taxi for the Nordschleife, and the Adventure World has the only permanent BMW race car exhibition."

"At the end of April we already had a clear example of the terrific enthusiasm of the racing fans in the Eifel when Nick drove a few demo laps around the Nordschleife in a modern F1 car before tens of thousands of spectators. It was the first time in 31 years that anything like this had happened - a unique experience we will all enjoy looking back on."

"The home race on the Nurburgring also gives us time for an interim appraisal. We have every reason to be satisfied with what we have achieved so far. Our goal for 2007 was to make it onto the podium on our own merit. Nick already managed that in Montreal with his second place, at the same time claiming our best individual result so far."

"I am confident this will not be our last podium finish this year. We have clearly established ourselves as the third strongest team and we have no intention of relinquishing that position during the remainder of the season. For 2007 we have already notched up 56 points. Last year we finished the season with 36. We have come away from every grand prix with points."

"I'm particularly pleased with all of this since we haven't yet completed our two-year development phase. The Hinwil factory extension won't be ready until the end of the year: that's when we will be operating at full power. I am convinced that the route we have chosen is the right one."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director:

"The salient features of the Ring include sweeping turns that require medium speeds, leading to the understeer that is so typical of the Nurburgring. The key question is: how do you set the car up to stop it pushing over the front wheels too much? That can be resolved by an optimal aero balance combined with the corresponding mechanical set- up."

"The downforce level isn't at its peak but it's high. The grip level on the Nurburgring improves markedly over the course of the weekend. As the track surface then affords plenty of grip you can run on softer tyre compounds."

"The end of the start/finish straight offers a passing opportunity with the following right- left combination allowing for several racing lines. If you come out on top in the first turn it doesn't necessarily mean you'll be in front in the second. Another feature of this track is the differences in elevation: from turn 7 onwards there's a long uphill acceleration, which means engine power plays an important role."

-credit: bmw sauber

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Nick Heidfeld , Jorg Muller , Robert Kubica , Sebastian Vettel , Mario Theissen , Marco Wittmann
Teams Sauber