Posts Tagged ‘bmw’

Rosberg goes fastest in practice

March 27th, 2009 No comments

Nico RosbergThe three teams running controversial diffusers dominated practice for the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne on Friday.  Williams driver Nico Rosberg finished the second session on top with a time of 1.26.053, followed by Brawn GP’s Rubens Barrichello and Toyota’s Jarno Trulli.

Australian Mark Webber managed to get his Red Bull up to fourth with a time of 1:26.370 but the RB5 struggled with technical issues and team mate Sebastian Vettel only managed 8th ahead of the Force India of Adrian Sutil.

As expected, the McLarens of Heikki Kovalainen and Lewis Hamilton were well off the pace finishing 17th and 18th respectively.  What was not so expected was the poor performance of BMW.  Nick Heidfeld only managed 14th with 1:27.802 and his team mate Robert Kubica was just behind him.  In radio transmissions, Kubica complained of lack of grip saying:

I don’t recognise this car. It’s not the same. It is very, very difficult to drive.

Poor Nelson Piquet struggled and finished the day in 19th place.  He’s going to have to do better than that if he wants to avoid more insults from boss Flavio Briatore.

It’s great to see the timesheets turned on their head like this and it must be encouraging for Nico Rosberg to finally have what seems like a decent car under him.  After the clear dominance of the ‘double-decker’ diffusers in practice will we see some pieces of carbon fibre hastily bolted on to the other cars?  It would be a bit awkward for those teams who have lodged protests to then copy their design and in the case of BMW, Mario Theissen has already said that their gearbox won’t work with a different diffuser.

Here are the times from both practice sessions:

First Practice

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:26.687 19
2. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:26.736 + 0.049 21
3. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:26.750 + 0.063 24
4. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:27.226 + 0.539 21
5. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.453 + 0.766 15
6. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:27.467 + 0.780 12
7. Massa Ferrari 1:27.642 + 0.955 24
8. Glock Toyota 1:27.710 + 1.023 24
9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:27.993 + 1.306 20
10. Alonso Renault 1:28.123 + 1.436 16
11. Heidfeld BMW Sauber 1:28.137 + 1.450 20
12. Trulli Toyota 1:28.142 + 1.455 21
13. Kubica BMW Sauber 1:28.511 + 1.824 22
14. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:28.603 + 1.916 16
15. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:28.785 + 2.098 27
16. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:29.042 + 2.355 18
17. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:29.081 + 2.394 7
18. Piquet Renault 1:29.461 + 2.774 25
19. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:29.499 + 2.812 21
20. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:32.784 + 6.097 4

Second Practice

Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Rosberg Williams-Toyota 1:26.053 36
2. Barrichello Brawn-Mercedes 1:26.157 + 0.104 38
3. Trulli Toyota 1:26.350 + 0.297 42
4. Webber Red Bull-Renault 1:26.370 + 0.317 30
5. Button Brawn-Mercedes 1:26.374 + 0.321 38
6. Glock Toyota 1:26.443 + 0.390 42
7. Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1:26.560 + 0.507 33
8. Vettel Red Bull-Renault 1:26.740 + 0.687 19
9. Sutil Force India-Mercedes 1:27.040 + 0.987 29
10. Massa Ferrari 1:27.064 + 1.011 35
11. Raikkonen Ferrari 1:27.204 + 1.151 32
12. Alonso Renault 1:27.232 + 1.179 28
13. Fisichella Force India-Mercedes 1:27.282 + 1.229 32
14. Heidfeld BMW-Sauber 1:27.317 + 1.264 34
15. Kubica BMW-Sauber 1:27.398 + 1.345 36
16. Bourdais Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:27.479 + 1.426 36
17. Kovalainen McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.802 + 1.749 35
18. Hamilton McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.813 + 1.760 31
19. Piquet Renault 1:27.828 + 1.775 35
20. Buemi Toro Rosso-Ferrari 1:28.076 + 2.023 33
Categories: 2009 Season Tags: , , ,

Sandstorms in Bahrain, Webber in Jerez

February 11th, 2009 No comments

Massa testing at SakhirBMW, Toyota and Ferrari must be wondering whether it was such a good idea to abandon Jerez to test at Bahrain’s Sakhir circuit.

Wednesday’s morning test session was red-flagged when a sandstorm prevented the medical helicopter from taking off.  The same thing happened on the opening day of testing on Tuesday when the helicopter was grounded by fog.

After the first group test in Portimao was disrupted by heavy rain the three teams were hoping for some fine weather to justify the hundreds of thousands of pounds extra it costs to test in the Middle East but the outlook for the rest of Wednesday doesn’t look good.  Even if the wind stops the track will have to be cleared of sand so the teams might not be able to continue testing until Thursday.

Meanwhile, back in Spain, Mark Webber has climbed into an F1 car for the first time since breaking his leg in a cycling accident three months ago.  He took the new Red Bull RB5 out onto the Jerez circuit for the first time on Wednedsay.

Image: Ferrari S.p.a.

Categories: News Tags: , , ,

Standard operating procedure

January 22nd, 2009 No comments

Robert Kubica in the BMW Sauber F1.09Formula One teams have standard procedures for everything; race starts, pit-stops, post-race in-lap. Apparently there is also a standard procedure for running out of fuel.

On the first day of proper testing with the all-new F1.09, BMW Sauber continued the evaluation process begun on Tuesday during the shakedown. Robert Kubica completed 99 laps as well as conducting several race start simulations. In the morning he deliberately stopped on the track when he carried out a so-called fuel run-out, a standard procedure with every new F1 car.

I’m not really sure what this would involve apart from switching off any electrical systems and putting the car in neutral. I mean, if you run out of fuel there’s not much you can do apart from park at the side of the track and get out, is there? I suppose it must be more complicated than that if it is something they need to test. If you know what a ‘fuel run-out procedure’ is please let me know in the comments.

Kubica will be at the wheel of the F1.09 again on Thursday before Nick Heidfeld takes over on Friday.

Categories: Cars Tags: ,

BMW’s radically different F1.09

January 20th, 2009 No comments

BMW F1.09 unwrappingBMW Sauber unveiled their new car today at the Circuit de Valencia (not to be confused with the Valencia Street Circuit.) Immediately after the official unveiling in the morning, Robert Kubica gave the F1.09 its roll-out on the track. Taking advantage of the sunny weather in the afternoon, the team concentrated on system checks and collecting base data from the all-new car.

The F1.09 is quite different beast from their 2008 challenger. By the end of last year, the F1.08 had sprouted so many wings, horns and curves that it looked like something that had flown straight out of Hades. It looked like it would give you a nasty cut if you bumped into it. Basically, it looked cool. But when viewing the F1.08 and F1.09 side-by-side the difference is striking. The new car’s bodywork is smooth, the nose is higher and wider, the sidepods are high at the front and it almost seems like they’ve forgotten to bolt some things on around the front wheels there.

This is all part of the new look resulting from the 2009 regulations but unfortunately I don’t think BMW have succeeded in producing as attractive a car as McLaren or Ferrari. While the front wing has three elements it doesn’t look as racy as the McLaren’s and there is something about the whole car which just doesn’t look very adventurous. Still, BMW have been working on this car for a long time and were one of the first teams to test the new aero package and are reportedly well advanced in their KERS testing.

Robert Kubica’s performance was impressive last year, achieving the first win for the team. He was leading the championship at one stage and seemed to feel if the team had developed last year’s car more instead of turning their attention to the F1.09 he may have been in a position to challenge seriously for the title. But it’s always a trade-off. With the limited testing available in 2009 Kubica might be glad of all the work that has gone into the new car.

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen clearly has his sights set on Ferrari and McLaren this year:

Ferrari and McLaren possess vast reserves of experience and have been operating at the top level for many years. That’s what our highly motivated team are setting out to emulate – through hard work and efficiency, coupled with our calm, analytical approach to the job.

If the F1.09 gets Kubica and Heidfeld onto the podium more often this year I’m sure they won’t care how it looks.

Categories: Cars Tags: ,