US GP: BMW Sauber preview

The tracks in Montreal and Indianapolis have two things in common, both are in North America and both demand a mid downforce level set up. Apart from that they cannot be more different. A distance of 1,400 kilometres lays between the idyllically...

The tracks in Montreal and Indianapolis have two things in common, both are in North America and both demand a mid downforce level set up. Apart from that they cannot be more different.

A distance of 1,400 kilometres lays between the idyllically located island race track in Canada and the gigantic oval in the USA. The tons of materials used by the F1 teams will be transported over this distance by a group of trucks that have been centrally organised.

They leave on Sunday night after the race for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway where, on 2 July , the tenth out of 18 rounds for the 2006 FIA World Championship will be held. The BMW Sauber F1 Team is looking forward to going to the track which demands a very special set up.

Nick Heidfeld:

“I am looking forward to the U.S. GP. Indianapolis is the mecca of American motorsport. For us F1 drivers it is something special to drive on the banking, although basically this is a simple task as you just go flat out. We only use a part of the oval, as especially for F1 an infield section with lots of corners was built for its debut year in 2000."

"In the first year we didn’t know whether it was better to drive with a lot of downforce in this part of the track, or if it was more important to be fast on the straight and have very little rear wing. In 2006 this question will be asked again, as we have changed from V10 to V8 engines and have approximately 200bhp less."

"I have done well in Indianapolis. In 2001 I had one of my best races to date. Although I lost first, second and seventh gears, I finished sixth and scored a point.”

Jacques Villeneuve:

“The F1 circuit in Indianapolis isn’t a bad track, although I feel it’s not as good as it could be. If I had designed it I would have used both straights on the oval, not just the one which is at the start of the lap. It is very long and we get up to speeds of well over 300kph."

"Here you are driving next to a wall and at the end you have to brake heavily, so that makes if different to other tracks. When you get near the end of the lap there is a kink where you rejoin the main oval and go into the final corner, which is banked. In this corner we reach speeds of 280kph and it doesn’t really feel like a corner."

"It is a difficult track to drive and the fact it is bumpy doesn’t help. It’s always nice to go to Indy after a spell in Europe and the atmosphere outside the paddock is always great. It feels a bit like a home Grand Prix because of the number of Canadian fans that are there, and the US fans also know me quite well.”

Robert Kubica:

“Another new track for me. Another new experience. I just hope the car goes well there. Our testing has been very positive lately, so we all have high hopes for the races that are coming up and this includes Indianapolis. I am looking forward to seeing the Brickyard, as obviously I have heard a lot about it."

"It will be interesting driving an Formula One car on banking, but it will not be a totally new experience as I have driven on banking in F3. From what I have heard other drivers say we are doing speeds in excess of 300kph and get fairly close to the wall.”

Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:

“The US GP is the start of the second half of the season and at the same time the second half of the overseas double header in North America. We really hope the American motorsport fans have overcome the disappointment of 2005. In 2006 we want to deliver a better event."

"With regards to sales figures, the US is the most important market for the BMW Group, as there we have the two biggest production facilities outside Germany."

"For the BMW P86 engine Indianapolis means the highest demands. On the oval’s straight the drivers go full throttle for more than 20 seconds, with the most demanding part being the second half when at the end of the straight they are on full throttle in seventh gear for more than ten seconds."

"After our good performances in Silverstone and Montreal, we would like to continue this trend in Indianapolis. Our goal is again to get both cars into the third part of qualifying and to collect points in the race.”

Willy Rampf, Technical Director Chassis:

“The banking on turn 1 of the Indianapolis circuit makes it unique in F1, although I would not call this turn a real corner. It is a full throttle slight curve and leads onto a 1820 metres straight, which is the longest on any F1 circuit. For this straight we want to have very little drag. It is also here where we will see overtaking manoeuvres, as the track is very wide and allows the drivers to take different lines."

"The demands for the infield are different. This part of the circuit, built especially for F1’s debut in 2000, is a chain of slow corners. Good traction and brake stability is required. The contrast between the oval and the infield is extreme and turns set up work into a split exercise. In the end Indianapolis is a medium downforce track, similar to Montreal."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Robert Kubica , Mario Theissen
Teams Sauber