US GP: Williams preview

The BMW WilliamsF1 Team head straight to Indianapolis this week for the United States Grand Prix and the second race of a double header hosted on North American soil. One of the highlights on the Formula One calendar, the race at the famous ...

The BMW WilliamsF1 Team head straight to Indianapolis this week for the United States Grand Prix and the second race of a double header hosted on North American soil. One of the highlights on the Formula One calendar, the race at the famous Brickyard circuit marks the ninth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship and the half way point of the 2004 season.

Despite the disappointment of disqualification from last weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, both Ralf and Juan Pablo drove competitive races, highlighting an encouraging improvement in the performance of the FW26. Having missed out on valuable points in Canada, the team will redouble its efforts for a competitive outcome in the United States.

Juan Pablo Montoya:

"Going back to race in the USA is always a great feeling, especially going back to the Brickyard. To see all those people in the grandstands is a huge boost for me as it reminds me of my CART days and of my Indy 500 victory in 2000. I also have bittersweet memories here. At last year's US Grand Prix, I lost any opportunity I had of winning the Drivers' Championship.That is how it goes in racing, though, so I've put that disappointment firmly behind me."

"Indianapolis is another fast circuit, probably slightly faster than Montreal, but the infield section is very slow and finding the right set-up for the car will be crucial. For several reasons, we haven't had a good season so far, but I really hope we can start turning things around at the Speedway."

"I'll get to see some good friends again while I'm in Indy and I am sure there will be several Colombian flags around too. I consider this race to be a home race for me since I lived in the US for a while and, whenever I have some days off, I enjoy spending time in Miami where my family lives."

Ralf Schumacher:

"After Canada, I will spend a few days relaxing in the United States before the action starts again on Thursday in Indianapolis. Somehow I have a feeling Indianapolis does not really like me as my last two races there have been somewhat frustrating. In 2002, I had a collision with my team mate and, in 2003, I spun off in the wet while running in second position."

"Despite past performances, Indianapolis is the home of motor racing in the States and without doubt a special place. I like the circuit as it has a good rhythm and good overtaking opportunities on the long straight, the corner entering the oval section is also a particularly good place to attack. Technically, the circuit is really challenging."

"Power is crucial, especially for the long straight, while you also need a lot of downforce for the corners of the infield section. Finding the perfect set-up is often really difficult as you need to find the best compromise to handle the track's varying characteristics. I think we will be well prepared, though, so I'm hoping for a more successful result than I've had in previous years."

Sam Michael (Technical Director, WilliamsF1):

"This weekend we'll be in Indianapolis for the second race of the North American double header. Like Montreal, the Speedway is a low downforce circuit, but, on the other hand, it is quite different because of the banked oval. The track therefore places different demands on the tyres and the brakes, so a totally different set-up to Canada is required in order to optimise performance."

"Michelin has brought two new tyres to the US Grand Prix, which we have tested with encouraging results, so I am sure they will work well at Indy. We have also made some mechanical improvements to the car which we will be running. Race strategy will be interesting, and probably similar to how it has been this season so far, so we should see teams doing either two or three stops."

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):

"We are very much looking forward to the race in the United States as America is BMW's biggest market. Indianapolis is the heart of motor racing in North America so it's great that it's hosted the race since 2000."

"Indianapolis is the only circuit on the calendar where the cars are driven at full throttle for long periods of time. The oval section is 1,780 metres long and the cars are driven at full throttle for more than 20 seconds. They are then quickly shifted up into seventh gear and stay there for about ten seconds. As a reference, the second longest straight on the Formula One calendar is at Monza, where the drivers cover 1,236 metres in 14 seconds at full throttle and will only be in top gear for about half of that time."

"On Indy's long straight, the BMW P84 engine will be under extreme thermal and mechanical pressures. Nevertheless, we will still run the same revs and power we have available in qualifying for the duration of the race. What the top speed on the straight will be will of course depend on the aero set-up and on how much wing we need to add to the cars for the infield corners."


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams