San Marino GP: Williams preview

The San Marino Grand Prix marks the start of the European season, and after the uncharacteristic first three races of the year, Imola is a more representative circuit in more usual climatic conditions. Given the normalisation of the racing ...

The San Marino Grand Prix marks the start of the European season, and after the uncharacteristic first three races of the year, Imola is a more representative circuit in more usual climatic conditions.

Given the normalisation of the racing conditions, the Grand Prix will provide a more accurate form guide for the teams for the next batch of races and the BMW WilliamsF1 Team will hope that its continuous stream of car developments over the past three months will start to show in competitive form on the track.

Mark Webber:

"Imola has been a good track to me in the past. I won there once in Formula 3000, and added to that, I always enjoy going to Italy, it is one of my favourite countries. The atmosphere in that track is very, very good, partly because of its setting tucked in the little mountains among the trees, making it a very picturesque setting."

"The circuit is one you instantly enjoy racing on and of course our team have a pretty good record in Imola. The only possible downside is the weather and at this time of year, it often rains and the ambient temperatures are quite low, but normally it's a good time of year to be in a nice part of the world."

Nick Heidfeld:

"The test we had at Paul Ricard last week, and in Barcelona the week before, were positive and are a good lead into this Grand Prix weekend. As a consequence, we have several new parts on the cars that we validated during the two tests and Michelin having been working flat out to provide us with the best possible tyre. I feel positive going into the San Marino Grand Prix and starting the European season."

"Imola is a nice track and a special circuit to open this part of the calendar. Turning to the track, you have to make more use of the curbs more often than anywhere else which is a real mechanical challenge for the cars. I will have a brand new engine for the next race, unlike many of the other drivers, which makes me a bit more confident for the upcoming weekend."

Sam Michael (Technical Director WilliamsF1):

"Going from Bahrain to Imola we will see an ambient temperature drop of around 250C. We have been testing in Barcelona and Paul Ricard since the last GP, working on tyre compounds, aero parts and general set-up of the FW27. We have made progress on performance and are looking forward to seeing our relative position at the race."

"Imola has medium to high speed corners, a couple of chicanes and heavy braking that the car and driver have to deal with. It is also important to have good curb riding ability without compromising high speed stability, both of which are strengths of the FW27."

"As usual, we have an aerodynamic upgrade package that will improve the car again to help us compete at the front. We will also have two new tyre choices that we have worked on with Michelin during tests. Imola is softer on tyres compared to the race circuits we have just been to, however as the FW27 has not been close to the limits on tyre wear at the first three GP's, we have gone to even softer compounds again."

"Due to the shorter pitlane the fuel strategy for the race could be slightly different in Imola. We are looking to maintain our strong qualifying performance that has enabled us to be one of the few teams to improve position on Sunday morning with race fuel load onboard."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Direktor):

"Everyone from BMW has very fond memories of Imola as we celebrated our first win at the track after BMW's Formula One comeback and we still have the 2001 success at the front of our minds whenever we compete in Imola. The circuit seems to suit our car and we hope this remains a reality in 2005."

"With its uphill sections Imola is demanding for the engines. Like most of the field, Mark Webber will be starting with the engine that has been already extremely stressed in the heat of the Bahrain Grand Prix. Nick Heidfeld by contrast will be starting in San Marino with a new engine. We expect weekend temperatures at around 200C, which means much more reasonable thermal stress compared to recent races."

"Logistically, many elements of the race weekend are easier with the start of the European season. Travelling is less time consuming, with less reliance on 'living out of suitcases' and freight boxes because we have the trucks and motorhomes in the paddock. For the mechanics and engineers, these mobile work shops and offices are a significant help."

-williams-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mark Webber , Nick Heidfeld , Mario Theissen
Teams Williams