This weekend, the 2006 FIA Formula One World Championship season will kick off in the Middle East, with the BMW Sauber F1 Team contesting its maiden race. The Bahrain Grand Prix will represent the first hint regarding the teams competitiveness compared to its rivals.
Nick Heidfeld, Jacques Villeneuve and Robert Kubica, the latter being the team's test driver who will contest the free practice sessions on Friday, are ready to go. In recent weeks the three drivers have completed an extensive testing programme to enchance the performance of the BMW Sauber F1.06. During pre-season testing, the car was tested for a total of 20 days at Barcelona, Imola, Jerez and Valencia. During the tests, which were conducted by all the three BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers, the new car covered a total of 9.950 kilometres.
On 22nd June 2005, BMW officially announced the new direction of its Formula One project, and now, just 262 days later, on Sunday, 12th March 2006, the first BMW controlled Formula One Team will contest its maiden race. On 17th January, the new team's first Formula One car, the BMW Sauber F1.06, equipped with the BMW P86 V8 engine, was launched in Valencia, with the second chassis having been in use since 8th February.
The off-season tests were truly satisfying for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, therefore, one may hope for a good result in the 2006 season's first Grand Prix. This weekend, the long wait is finally over and the BMW Sauber F1 Team will face the first practical test in its short history.Source BMW Sauber f1