Formula BMW Europe Gets Ready for the Off in Spain The Formula BMW Europe competitors will see whether their hard work over the last few months has produced the results they were hoping for, as the opening races of the 2009 series will be this...
Formula BMW Europe Gets Ready for the Off in Spain
The Formula BMW Europe competitors will see whether their hard work over the last few months has produced the results they were hoping for, as the opening races of the 2009 series will be this weekend at the first European round of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship in Barcelona.
One very interested spectator in Barcelona will be BMW Motorsport Director, Mario Theissen who commented: "After a very successful first year for the series, I look forward to seeing this year's line up of young drivers in action. Racing in front of the Formula One and GP2 teams, Formula BMW Europe provides an excellent opportunity for both drivers and teams to demonstrate their talents and skills. No less than five of the current Formula One drivers have started their careers in professional motorsport with Formula BMW, and some others are knocking on the door already. But, most importantly, Formula BMW Europe will be an invaluable learning experience for all the competitors."
It was on the Circuit de Catalunya at the beginning of March that each competitor was able to size up the competition in the series' first official test. Since then they have been to Monza, Silverstone, the Nu rburgring and Spa-Francorchamps with their Formula BMW FB02s, and over ten days of track running have covered hundreds of kilometres and gathered a lot of important data.
One thing is certain, it will be a close fought battle over the eight events as the times have been extremely close. However, it will only be when they hit the track in anger on Friday, 8th May that the true pattern of who will be quick will start to emerge.
The driver who has come out on top after these tests with the quickest time on three of the five occasions is 18-year-old Michael Christensen (Mucke Motorsport) from Denmark, who is the 2008 Rookie Cup winner. The two other drivers who took testing honours were Brazilian Luiz Felipe Nasr (Eurointernational) and Ollie Millroy (Motaworld Racing) from Great Britain. In the Rookie section Christensen's team-mate, Timmy Hansen, another Scandinavian, but this time a Swede, was quickest on four occasions with Robin Frijns (Josef Kaufmann Racing) from the Netherlands beating him just once.
While it is the drivers from Northern Europe who have come out on top, there is bound to be fierce opposition from the five Spaniards, Daniel Juncadella (Eurointernational), Antonio Martinez (Fortec Motorsport), Ramon Pineiro (Fisichella Motor Sport Internastional SPA), Facu Regalia (Josef Kaufmann Racing) and Javier Tarancon (DAMS). Juncadella, Pineiro and Regalia are all back for a second season in the series, with Juncadella having two podium finishes from this event last year. However, the biggest job will be for Martinez who will be the only local Rookie in Spain.
The Circuit de Catalunya is about 20 kilometres north of the city of Barcelona, and this year will be the 19th Formula One race held at this track which is a very popular winter testing facility for the Grand Prix teams. The Formula BMW Europe teams will compete in two 13 lap races round the 4.655 kilometre long track. The weekend's provisional timetable that is subject to confirmation for the series will be Free Practice on Friday from 08.50 to 09.15, followed by Qualifying from 12.45 to 13.10. Race 1 will be at 17.45 on Saturday and Race 2 at 09.15 on Sunday. All times are local CET.