The 2008 Formula One season reaches its halfway mark on July 6th with a truly classic fixture: the British Grand Prix in Silverstone. The BMW Sauber F1 Team hopes the three days of testing at this challenging circuit in Northamptonshire will help it bring home a better result than at its last outing in the French Grand Prix.
Silverstone features a lot of medium and high-speed corners, so good aerodynamic balance is always one of the key issues here.
The BMW Sauber F1 Team comes to Silverstone lying second in the Constructors’ Championship, and with Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld second and fifth in the drivers’ rankings.
On the same weekend that Kubica and Heidfeld are battling for championship points in Silverstone, Manchester will welcome the hands-on BMW Sauber F1 Team Pit Lane Park. This high-tech theme park will be open to visitors free of charge from Friday to Sunday until 10 pm. The park recorded more than 300,000 visitors during its 2007 tour.
Nick Heidfeld: “Over the main entrance to Silverstone there’s a sign saying ‘Home of British Motor Racing’, and that really sums up the atmosphere here. This classic track has stayed true to its roots. It really has character, which I like. There are a lot of great high-speed sections, and some memorable corners and combinations like Stowe, Copse and Beckets. Also, you can always count on the British spectators to create a special atmosphere. The British fans are really into racing; they’re very informed and enthusiastic. I hope we can put on a good show for them.”
Robert Kubica: “Silverstone has a great history and is a very nice track. It is very important to have good downforce here, especially in the high-speed first sector. Later on in the lap the track has some low-speed corners. From a driver’s perspective, the circuit is a good mix that makes a lot of different demands. Wind conditions are always a big factor, and they can have quite an effect on the car in the first sector. Furthermore, British weather is always unpredictable, but I have been to races in Silverstone three or four times and never had rain. So let’s wait and see.”
Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director: “Silverstone is a classic date on the racing calendar, and it attracts a special calibre of fan. A lot of the racing enthusiasts who come here are less concerned with the personalities and the show side of things and more interested in the sport itself. The team has already been testing in Silverstone this week. Both Robert and Nick have been working on their set-ups for the Grand Prix. Following the difficult weekend in Magny-Cours, we expect to get back on track again at Silverstone.
“For the BMW Group, Britain is the only market with production sites for all three of its brands: the MINI is built in Oxford, Rolls-Royce in Goodwood, BMW car engines are built in Hams Hall, and the Swindon plant is the main supplier of MINI body stampings and parts. After the US and Germany, Britain is the third-biggest market for the BMW Group.”
Willy Rampf, Technical Director: “Obviously, in England we’ll be looking to prove that our result at Magny-Cours didn’t do us justice. We picked up some interesting tips from testing in Silverstone, and I’m confident we’ll recapture our previous strong form. To drive a fast lap at Silverstone you need a car with very good aerodynamic balance. The drivers have to carry as much speed as possible out of those medium and high-speed corners that are such a big feature of this course. Maggots- Becketts-Chapel is one of the best combinations on the whole calendar. Silverstone is a fairly abrasive track, so it’s quite hard on the tyres. That means we will be using the hardest compounds.”