BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen reflects on the Australian Grand Prix, highlighting all its incidents from the BMW WillamsF1 Team's point of view. Dr Mario Theissen. Photo by Brousseau Photo. "The 2004 season opener is over....
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen reflects on the Australian Grand Prix, highlighting all its incidents from the BMW WillamsF1 Team's point of view.
"The 2004 season opener is over. We have to admit that the result has not really matched our expectations, but considering the circumstances, we have to be content with the fourth and fifth places gained by Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya respectively. We are anything but happy however, with our gap to Ferrari, particularly the gap of more than a second. That's just too much. Ferrari has proved that it will remain the benchmark."
"This is a demanding challenge but I'm confident that we will be able to cope with it. Remember last year: over the course of the season, the balance of power changed several times. Should we be able to achieve a similar increase in performance as we did last year, I'm sure that we will close the gap to the World Champions once again. That's my considered opinion. After the relatively cool temperatures encountered during the season opener at Melbourne, the next two races in Malaysia and Bahrain will be held in extreme heat. Therefore, things may look completely different."
"Although things didn't go completely our way in the race, I'm very pleased with the Grand Prix debut of our BMW P84 engine. It has passed the test with flying colours. We did not impose any mileage limitation during the free practice sessions on Friday. On Saturday during qualifying we came close to the 19,000 rpm mark and we were revving at the same level in the race on Sunday."
"Altogether, Ralf covered 658 kilometres with the BMW P84 engine and Juan Pablo 636 kilometres. Few of our competitors have covered more kilometres, most of them completed a lower mileage, although each team has been working to its own schedule. For us, it was absolutely clear that the drivers and engineers should be free to make full use of the free practice sessions for the tyre evaluation tests and to work on set-ups."
"The back-to-back qualifying on Saturday was varied. After the two-hour session, many drivers made negative remarks on the new format, but I think we should wait a few races before we make a final judgement. Having said that, I have to admit that I had problems comparing the times of sessions one and two and assessing their results, it must have been even worse for the spectators. But one thing has become quite obvious: in unchangeable weather conditions, the pre-qualifying is rather unimportant with regards grid positions."