Heidfeld and Villeneuve optimistic
They’ve known each other for a long time, they have both driven for Sauber before, they both live in Switzerland - but never before have they been team-mates. Together, drivers Nick Heidfeld and Jacques Villeneuve have a combined experience of 250 Grand Prix.
Heidfeld made his Formula One debut at the start of the 2000 season. From 2001 to 2003, he drove for the Swiss racing team. Two second places, which he gained for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team in season 2005, are his best results so far. At another Grand Prix in 2005 he took pole position. The man from Mönchengladbach, who became father to a daughter in July 2005, looks back on 98 F1 races.
"I'm really looking forward to the new season and the new team. I know most of the members from past years, of course. Besides, I can get to Hinwil by car in quarter of an hour, which is also an advantage. As a racing driver one is naturally impatient when it comes to seeing success. But we have to stay realistic. For me the most important thing is for us to work hard and make steady progress.”
No other driver to date has been as quick to seize the World Championship title as Jacques Villeneuve. In 1996, his debut year, the Canadian made it into the runner-up slot in the World Championship behind his Williams-Renault team-mate of the time, Damon Hill. The following year, 1997, he beat Michael Schumacher to the title for Williams-Renault. In a total of 152 Grand Prix races, he has claimed eleven wins and 13 poles. After five years with the BAR team, Villeneuve’s F1 career appeared to be over in 2003. But then he was given the chance to contest the last three races of the 2004 season for Renault. For season 2005, the son of the famous Ferrari driver Gilles Villeneuve was signed up by Sauber.
“Setting up a new team is a very complex task. I’ve been through it before. But I believe that the prerequisites that have come together here are good. I want to do my best to help the BMW Sauber F1 Team achieve success.”
With Robert Kubica from Krakow, BMW has taken on a highly promising young driving talent as a test and replacement driver. The Pole will also be driving the third BMW Sauber F1.06 deployed during the Friday free practice sessions. Kubica drew attention to himself with a commanding title win in the 2005 World Series by Renault formula class. Mario Theissen “He has worked hard to achieve his successes without major backing, and that is worthy of respect.” Kubica also reaped plaudits in 2003 when he debuted in the Formula 3 Euro Series and won his very first race in this class, held at the Norisring in Nuremberg.