Rumours continue to circulate in the paddock that BMW is considering pulling out of F1 before it has even entered. Gerhard Berger has gone on the defensive to deny the reports. "It's strange hearing all these rumours still echoing around. The...
Rumours continue to circulate in the paddock that BMW is considering pulling out of F1 before it has even entered. Gerhard Berger has gone on the defensive to deny the reports.
"It's strange hearing all these rumours still echoing around. The fact is, we're entering F1 next year and never considered postponing our engagement. Our work is going ahead well, even if we are wishing we had more time. But who doesn't in F1?"
BMW is not likely to look good against the Mercedes and Jaguar power plants next season - it's main rivals - but could lose even more face by pulling out. BMW is also believed to face a £100m ($160m) penalty clause to Williams if it does terminate it's 5 year deal early.
Testing of the Paul Rosche designed engine is not going totally to plan. The most recent test of the Step 3 engine at Austria resulted in the car being some 6 seconds off the pace. To put this in perspective, in July the gap from pole-man Hakkinen to last placed Gene was some 4 seconds. Patrick Head claimed the gap was down to "two seconds off what our regular cars did at the Austrian GP". This would put them 4 to 5 seconds off the poleman, and still in last place on the grid.
Mario Thiessen, technical director of BMW, has said of what teams demand of an F1 engine today "They want to have 1000bhp, the engine must be so miniscule you cannot see it, and the centre of gravity must be below the surface of the race track!".
New Peugeot engine fails in testing
The new Peugeot A20 engine that Prost will use next season had an embarrassing debut in testing. The engine lasted just 2 laps before suffering a blow-by engine failure, where petrol and air got into the crank case. According to sources, there were few internal parts left for inspection after the blow-up.
FIA reverses refuelling rule
The FIA has bowed to pressure from Ferrari to overturn their earlier ruling banning the premature removal of the refuelling hose before the rig was empty.
Ferrari had discusssions with Intertechnique about the rigs, and then discussed the matter with Charlie Whiting. Intertechnique has said that "it is a problem for the FIA, not Intertechnique. The rig is designed to allow disconnection under flow".
Stephen M Baines <email@example.com>