On Friday January 25th, the BMW WIlliams FW24 had its first run under the scrutiny of the press at the Silverstone circuit. In cold, damp conditions both Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya took the car on laps round the National circuit after...
On Friday January 25th, the BMW WIlliams FW24 had its first run under the scrutiny of the press at the Silverstone circuit. In cold, damp conditions both Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya took the car on laps round the National circuit after the morning's presentation.
Schumacher is optimistic that the car will be competitive:
"As a driver you always get excited about aerodynamics and about the engine," he said. "Since we've tested the engine already, we're waiting and expecting to see what the car gives us. I get a lot of questions: 'what is the difference to the old car?' -- It looks very similar in some areas, but very different in others; but in general it's fair to say it's more than an evolution of what we had last year. You must say that last year we had a competitive car, but it was not always competitive."
Schumacher thinks that the FW24 has resolved those problems:
"I think that's what we've found in this car. I hope at least that we have quite a bit more downforce which is the main factor in Formula One. I'm sure on the mechanical side, which you can't see, obviously, we've improved the car as well."
Since taking the decision to wear glasses when he races, Schumacher stirred up disagreements about whether this was a safety issue.
"I've tried contact lenses and you try glasses at the same time and compare them." Schumacher commented. "The view is slightly better (with glasses) and there are reasons for it which I don't know because I'm not an engineer of glasses! It's definitely needed for sharpness which is better with glasses."
As for the safety concerns, he dismisses any claims they might be
"I wouldn't think so. It depends on the frames you use and the glass you're using. It's bullet-proof glass. The way we design the glasses should not be any danger at all."
Asked whether he found the winter break too long without driving, he gave a wry smile.
"I'm sure under normal circumstances it would have been too long and I'm happy to be back in the car. But I guess in my situation, with the marriage and with David (his baby son) joining us, the two and a half months went by very fast!"