European GP: Sauber preview

Having two German drivers the Grand Prix of Europe at the Nürburgring is a kind of home race for the team Sauber Petronas. What makes it even more special is the fact that Heinz-Harald Frentzen will celebrate his 150th Grand Prix on June ...

Having two German drivers the Grand Prix of Europe at the Nürburgring is a kind of home race for the team Sauber Petronas. What makes it even more special is the fact that Heinz-Harald Frentzen will celebrate his 150th Grand Prix on June 29.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director):

"Despite the addition of a new loop in the first corner for the 2002 race, the character of the Nürburgring remains similar to previous years and we use a comparable level of downforce. That is quite high because there are numerous corners. The first and second corner are very wide and you can take a number of lines into it, which gives the drivers an opportunity to overtake. You might sacrifice some downforce for qualifying, in order to boost straightline speed to help overtaking in the race."

"Braking is in the normal range here, but because of the nature of the corners and some off-camber sections, cars suffer more than the usual amount of understeer, so finding a good handling balance is really difficult here. On the other hand, this track is not very hard on the engines, since there are no long straightlines."

"What often makes the Nürburgring tricky is the unpredictable weather. As an engineer, you always need to have a dry and a wet set-up ready, to be prepared for all kinds of surprises."

Nick Heidfeld (58 GPs, 1 point 2003):

"The Grand Prix of Europe is one of my home races, and it is always good to be racing in Germany. There is a good atmosphere and you have more supporters. I also feel a special affinity for the Nürburgring because I often went there when I was younger. I started karting there, I did my first wet race there, and it's close to my original town, so it's a bit special."

"The circuit is quite modern, and I also like the new chicane which is slower but a bit more difficult. I'm interested to see what effect some other changes have had. The old Veedol chicane has been altered and renamed, and I want to see if they have created the perfect corner there yet."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen (149 GPs, 7 points 2003):

"For me too this will be one of my home races, and also my 150th Grand Prix, but to be honest that is not really an issue for me. Of course I know the circuit well from my past. Originally it was quick, with some flowing corners, but it has been changed over the years and slowed down in places. It is now a little bit more difficult to drive."

"The new first corner has made it easier to overtake, but because of its shape it is also easy for the driver who has been overtaken to repass as that part of the track is so wide. There is a wide choice of entry line. I passed several people there last year, but they repassed me! The key thing is to get the following two corners right, so that doesn't happen."

-sauber-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Nick Heidfeld
Teams Sauber