Japanese GP: BMW Sauber preview

The 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship is entering the finishing straight, with Japan, China and Brazil the concluding destinations on this year's calendar. The BMW Sauber F1 Team goes into the final phase of the season with 90 World ...

The 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship is entering the finishing straight, with Japan, China and Brazil the concluding destinations on this year's calendar. The BMW Sauber F1 Team goes into the final phase of the season with 90 World Championship points under its belt. In 2006 the team finished its debut season in fifth place in the constructors' standings on 36 points.

The Japanese Grand Prix has been switched from Suzuka to Fuji in 2007, and the return of F1 to the Fuji Speedway after 30 years means today the sport is entering unfamiliar terrain. The circuit at the foot of Mount Fuji provided the venue for the first two Japanese Grands Prix in 1976 and 1977.

Nick Heidfeld:

"I've never been to Fuji and am always pleased to see a new circuit appear on the calendar. A new circuit presents the drivers and engineers with some interesting challenges, and - even in our ever-changing sport - provides an extra dose of variety, as all of us first have to find our bearings in the new surroundings. I like Japan as a whole, especially Tokyo. I like the mentality and am a real fan of Japanese cuisine, which has a lot more to offer than the obligatory sushi.

"Suzuka is my favourite race track, so I'm pleased that the two circuits will take turns in hosting the GP from 2009. I'm really looking forward to driving the Fuji circuit, and I hope I'll get to see Mount Fuji at least once. I heard that some people have been there any number of times, but the peak has been hidden in a cloud every time."

Robert Kubica:

"I like Japan and I like the Japanese mentality. Of course I am looking forward to it but I don't know the Fuji track as a driver, just a bit from games when I was younger. However, I think it has changed a bit. We have to see how the track is but I think it is going to be good going there because the Japanese fans are very enthusiastic. They really like to stay and watch the racing cars so I think we will have a lot of people there."

"I think our car this year is behaving similar in all kinds of tracks so it is not like last year when we were better in low downforce tracks; this year it is more consistent so I think we can achieve what we are achieving everywhere."

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:

"Fuji will be a new challenge. I had a look at the circuit before last year's race at Suzuka. There is one very long straight and several unorthodox corners. The circuit is very remote - there are very few roads and not much in the way of accommodation, and the infrastructure is limited. Fuji represents a major undertaking for our logistics people."

"The Japanese market is very important for BMW. Japan is Asia's leading and most highly developed market. Success here puts you in a very strong position in Asia overall. BMW was the first German manufacturer to set up its own subsidiary in Japan."

Willy Rampf, Technical Director:

"As we have never raced at Fuji our preparations for the GP have relied 100 percent on computer simulation. This is based on software programs developed fully by our own specialists. The primary focus during this process was to determine the level of downforce, mechanical set-up, brake specification and gear ratios required for the race."

"Experience has shown that we have reached a high level with our simulation technology. We can therefore expect to have a good baseline set-up already in place on Friday morning, which will allow us to use free practice to concentrate on fine-tuning measures and tyre choice for qualifying and the race on Sunday."

-credit: bmw sauber

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