After a podium finish on British soil last weekend, the German Grand Prix will be no less intense for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team as it endeavours to produce a strong performance on BMW's home ground at Hockenheim. Beyond the significance of showing...
After a podium finish on British soil last weekend, the German Grand Prix will be no less intense for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team as it endeavours to produce a strong performance on BMW's home ground at Hockenheim.
Beyond the significance of showing positively in front of a partisan crowd, the FIA Formula One World Championship is entering a crucial phase. With the points margins in both the Drivers' and Constructors' Championships so close, with only five races to go until the close of the 2003 season, victory will be of paramount importance as the opportunities for points scoring are diminishing. Next weekend's German Grand Prix therefore promises to be a fascinating event for the teams and for the fans.
"Not winning at Silverstone was a shame as it was WilliamsF1's home Grand Prix, but I have moved on and am looking forward to racing at Hockenheim and securing some more points. The World Championship, however, is far from my thoughts at the moment. Hockenheim is my home Grand Prix so I am concentrating on that and, hopefully, securing another win."
"Last year, we ran for the first time on the revised track, which is great, so I can't wait to get back there. Losing the long straights of the old circuit is not a problem as the new layout is clearly much more interesting for both the drivers and the fans. There's a great overtaking opportunity before the hairpin and the corners in the infield don't narrow at the exit, they remain open, so you can maintain your rhythm and drive fluently."
Juan Pablo Montoya:
"It's good to approach the German Grand Prix with some more valuable points under my belt. I am now third in the Drivers' Championship and this is very good, but the gap from the lead is still substantial and I need to score points consistently in every race to be able to challenge for the title."
"Since it was revised for last year's race, Hockenheim now offers more overtaking opportunities but, unfortunately, fewer high-speed sections. All in all though, the layout of the new circuit should allow our cars to demonstrate their true potential. So far, we have always been fairly competitive at Hockenheim, even when our car wasn't as good as it is now, so I don't see why we shouldn't be confident in achieving a good result this year."
Sam Michael (WilliamsF1, Chief Operations Engineer):
"Major improvements were made to Hockenheim in time for last year's race which transformed it into a more exciting track with plenty of overtaking opportunities. The long straight from Turn 2 down to Turn 3, with the extensive tarmac run-off area, is a great example of how the race promoters can make changes to circuits in order to facilitate overtaking, thereby enhancing the excitement of Formula One."
"Hockenheim is dominated by slow and medium speed corners which will dictate the setup options we select over the weekend. As always, traction will be an important factor, as well as tyre selection. The data from last year's race demonstrates that tyre degradation can be a problem at Hockenheim so making the correct choice with Michelin will be crucial. Strategy, however, will be the most critical element of the weekend, so the efficiency of the pit crew will be key."
"After seeing how much time the crew managed to gain our drivers in the pit lane during the safety car period at Silverstone, we are confident of another strong showing in Germany. Since the British Grand Prix, we've made several improvements to the FW25 which will hopefully keep us challenging at the front of the field and help us to secure some more valuable points at Hockenheim."
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):
"For the last two years, Hockenheim has proven to be a good race for us. In 2001, both our drivers started from the front row of the grid for the first time, with Ralf going on to win his home race. Last year, Juan Pablo and Ralf finished second and third respectively. I hope we can maintain such impressive results this year and add to the team's successes already achieved this season."
"Before the Hockenheimring was adapted, the long forest straights suited our powerful engine and we were able to exert greater influence on the car's performance than we can with the new layout. Now, it's the quality of the overall package that's important rather than just sheer horsepower alone. Even so, with engines running flat out for around 65 per cent of the time, it's one of the fastest circuits on the calendar."
"Thanks to the recent improvements to the track, the stadium-like character of the venue, with its unique atmosphere in the Motodrom, has been further accentuated. Furthermore, this season we are witnessing an extremely close battle for both World Championships. For us, and for the fans, this is the most exciting Formula One season we've had for years so we are of course looking forward to a good race at our home Grand Prix."