One thing is certain: after it has slimmed down and transformed into a private team the BMW Sauber F1 Team is very happy to line up with two C29s for Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi at the season’s opening race. But just turning up is far from what the team is aiming for.
The car’s development has been pushed forward non stop and the tests in February were on the whole positive. So to score points is what the team wants to achieve on March 14 in the Kingdom of Bahrain at the first of the 19 rounds that make up the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.
Pedro de la Rosa: “I have good memories of Bahrain. In 2005 when I had to jump in I scored the fastest race lap. In 2007 I was there for two days of testing. However, I think the new section which is added to the infield will make it an all new track, because it means we have to adapt the downforce level. The best aspect of the circuit is that you can overtake. There are three long straights with each followed by a corner where you have to brake really hard. We will have good racing there, I think, and all I want is to fight because this is what I missed most. It is difficult to tell yet which track will be good for our car. In any case it will be very interesting to see how the strategies unfold, and how the teams will react to each other’s strategy in the race. Due to the fact that refuelling isn’t allowed anymore, the team can influence the outcome a lot more. After we have had four good tests on three different circuits I feel very confident for the season’s start. I covered a lot of mileage with the team and we learnt a lot. Bahrain will mark my return to racing and I can’t wait.”
Kamui Kobayashi: “I won two GP2 Asia races in Bahrain in 2008 and 2009 and I have been testing there in Formula One in 2009. I like the fact that the season starts on a circuit I know so well. The track is quite nice, I like every corner and now we get some more of them. The track has a lot of stop-and-go corners and I really enjoy that style, while I also think it will suit our car. During the tests I learnt a lot and I’m training hard. I definitely feel ready for the start of the season and I’m also looking forward to the usual good weather in Bahrain, as I really like it warm.”
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: “The kick off for the coming season promises extra excitement because very few of the teams showed their full potential during the tests. Due to the refuelling ban the fuel cells have become much larger and, therefore, we’ve got radically different cars. It is an engineer’s task to find a set-up which provides a good balance for the cars, although they will now be a hundred kilos heavier at the start of the race. Race strategy also provides totally new challenges. Pit stops will be mainly dictated by the tyre performance. Both tyre specs still have to be run. The circuit lay-out in Bahrain has changed significantly as it is now dominated by a narrow section in the infield with eight additional corners. The downforce level will be a compromise. On the one hand the many low speed corners require high downforce, but on the other the extraordinary width of the track encourages overtaking and this means you can’t disregard the need for top-speed.”