BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen talks about the Hockenheim cirucit "For BMW, this weekend at Hockenheim marks the second home event of the season. Up until 2001 the circuit was something of an 'Eldorado' for strong engines such as ours.
BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen talks about the Hockenheim cirucit
"For BMW, this weekend at Hockenheim marks the second home event of the season. Up until 2001 the circuit was something of an 'Eldorado' for strong engines such as ours. Nothing but power counted on the long straights in the woods. Those were the sections which demonstrated, in the most impressive way, who had the strongest engine. At the last event on the old track, Juan Pablo Montoya managed to clock a lap record, which will last forever."
"Those straights are now gone as the track has been revamped. Yet Hockenheim remains one of the most challenging circuits engine-wise. Last year we recorded a full-throttle percentage of 62 percent, and the track layout, even with its tight infield section, is one of the fastest on the calendar, with top-speeds ranging up to 332 kph."
"Of course we were disappointed when the track was revamped, but at the same time the positives outweigh the negatives. Thanks to its new compactness, the Hockenheimring is much more spectator-friendly. In the old days, only a few spectators were able to watch through the fences in the woods, whereas now there are impressive grandstands all around the circuit."
"The second positive is the opportunity for overtaking. Formula One is currently lacking in this area. There are some interesting battles in the midfield and behind, but they are very rare at the front. One reason for this is the closeness of competition - if nobody makes a mistake, nobody will overtake. This year the pit-lane speed limit has been increased to 100 kph which leads to more stops in general so a driver may well think about waiting for the pit stops to get past another driver, rather than risking an on-track manoeuvre."
"Clearly it is more interesting if a race track enables drivers to fight wheel to wheel against one another. Modern race track architecture has considered this problem. Hockenheim is a very good example of this, especially in one section: a long-sweeping bend, "Parabolika", which leads to a very slow hairpin."
"The road is broad enough to enable varying braking points and driving lines. The hairpin is followed by a wide tarmac run-off. That means that even if an attack fails to succeed, the driver won't be stuck in a nasty gravel trap. Such measures are valuable assets to exciting races. This is one more reason why we are looking forward to our home Grand Prix!"