BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen looks at reasons to be proud at the end of the 2003 season, and ahead to a promising future. "The season 2003 is over. The final at Suzuka was like the entire season, a big dipper of feelings. Despite the...
BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen looks at reasons to be proud at the end of the 2003 season, and ahead to a promising future.
"The season 2003 is over. The final at Suzuka was like the entire season, a big dipper of feelings. Despite the rather unpleasant race on Sunday, we should not forget that the fourth season of BMW since their comeback to Formula 1 was at the same time our most successful one. Our two third places in the Constructors' Championship in 2000 and 2001 were followed by second place behind Ferrari in 2002."Ferrari go first after a great struggle. Having been so close to it, is encouraging us for the future."
"Having a look at the facts, we have all reasons to be proud. In 2003, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team have made their mark as being absolutely competitive, having secured four victories. Juan Pablo was able to manage eight podium finishes in a row, more than any other driver in 2003. Ralf was the only one in the drivers' field who was able to score points in the first ten races."
"That's not all: the two one-two wins of the season were scored by the BMW WilliamsF1 Team -- at the Nurburgring as well as at Magny-Cours, Ralf crossed the finish ahead of Juan Pablo. In terms of reliability, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team was once again unbeatable: no other team completed more race laps than we did. And we can be particularly proud of the BMW P83. Our engine also proved its dependability under the new rules providing longer running times. Not a single engine failure occured in any of the Grand Prix races. Juan Pablo's dropout at Zeltweg was due to problems with the radiator, at Suzuka, defective hydraulics caused him to retire early."
"These are facts to build on and they promise a successful future. The foundations for it are laid in any case. The contract with WilliamsF1 was extended to 2009 inclusive and provides for a more intensive network. Being one of the most successful teams in Formula 1 history, WilliamsF1 brings 26 years of experience and special knowledge to bear in it. A common and constant project management will ensure better dovetailing in order to generate synergy effects between the sites in Grove and Munich. The course for it has been determined."
"Within the context of this increased co-operation, BMW will contribute beyond development and manufacturing of the engines. As a first step, the crew in Munich will concentrate on the common development of the driving axle including transmission. Furthermore, the team will benefit even more from the know-how gained from simulations and tests in our Research and Innovation Center, the FIZ."
"Next to structural changes, personal changes will also take effect at BMW. 2004 will be the first Formula 1 season for me to work without my partner Gerhard Berger. Gerhard did not extend his contract due to expire at the end of September 2003, as we have announced before the season had started in Melbourne. After 25 years of living the "life of a vagabond", he wants to have more time for private matters and to go on easier."
"Of course, he will always stay obliged to BMW. His major task was to draw up the F1 crew and to introduce the young team to Formula 1. This task has been met successfully. We now have a crew consisting of powerful team-members almost exclusively recruited from BMW. It is not planned to nominate a successor to Gerhard."
"As far as the drivers' duo is concerned, there have been many speculations about it for month. The matter of fact is, however, that Ralf and Juan Pablo are bound to the BMWilliamsF1 Team by contract until 2004 inclusive. For 2005, the course will be determined in due time. We do not intend to participate in any speculations about it."
"By way of conclusion, just another word to our engine: since 2001, BMW have been presenting one of the most powerful, or as many people would say, the most powerful F1 engine. We still make a claim for it. In our preparations for 2004, we are ahead of our schedule: the BMW P84 has already been on the test rig in July; its specification for 2004 has already been successfully tested on the track in the test drives at Monza at the beginning of September. In other words, the season 2004 has already started. And I'm already looking forward to it."