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BMW Sauber F1

1. The team. Next step. The target: more podium places. Munich/Hinwil. They’re certainly on the right path, but there’s still a way to go. After a promising debut year in Formula One, the BMW Sauber F1 Team is gearing up for the next step in 2007. In the coming season, the newly established team will continue to pursue its development agenda as planned. The sporting target is clear: more podium places in 2007. At the same time, staff expansion at Hinwil is scheduled to be completed, bringing the total workforce in Switzerland to 430. By the end of the year the new building complex will also be finished, and the BMW Sauber F1 Team will have reached its full complement.

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In 2006 we exceeded our own targets. Now expectations are rising faster than the team can keep up. That’s the penalty for excelling yourself”,
says BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen, going on to spell out the team’s strategy: “2007 is the second and final year of our development
phase. We aim to make it onto the podium on our own merit. If the top teams show any sign of weakness, we want to be ready to jump into the
breach. Wins on our own merit are not realistically on the cards for 2007.
We are aiming for that in 2008. Then in 2009 we want to be in contention
for the championship title.”

 

The BMW Sauber F1 Team’s first year in motor sport’s top-echelon event has undeniably whetted the appetite for more. On the podium twice, in the points 15 times, a commendable fifth place in the constructors’ championship – the BMW Sauber F1 Team fared better than anyone had anticipated. “That really was more than the experts would have expected of a newly formed team”, says Theissen. “The grand prix stage is gradually revealing the sheer hard graft and single-minded effort going on behind the scenes.”

 

125 employees have already been taken on at Hinwil and another 30 are to follow, all of them having to be integrated there as well as being networked with the almost 300-strong Formula One workforce in Munich. It is no easy task when dealing with such numbers, as you simply can’t afford to lose sight of the big picture. So far everything has run according to plan. Theissen
is acutely aware that the rate of growth cannot be accelerated, particularly as many members of staff have been temporarily relocated and are carrying out

 

their tasks in rented offices before moving into the finished complex in Hinwil. This will house not only test facilities, laboratories and development departments, but office accommodation as well. Things are still rather crowded at Hinwil, but the end of the stopgap solutions is in sight.

 

For all the new faces there might be at Hinwil, those of the team drivers are familiar ones. Nick Heidfeld (GER) and Robert Kubica (PLN) will be battling for championship points as the team drivers. Sebastian Vettel (GER), who has been working as the Friday driver ever since the Turkish GP in 2006, is the official test and reserve driver. Theissen comments on this sparkling cocktail of established routine and fresh blood: “We are very satisfied with our line-up. Nick is our experienced man. He is fast and reliable and has the know-how to take the team forward. All that makes him a firm fixture and an important reference point for the engineers and the other drivers. Robert has already proved that he is fast, and he’ll catch up on the routine side. The two of
them work well together and engage in healthy competition out on the track. As for Sebastian, we will be giving him the opportunity to drive on Fridays as well. He will learn from the other two.”

 

Heidfeld, who collected the most points for the team in 2006, says this:
“After our good maiden season we now have to continue along our path.
But one mustn’t expect too much as the higher you go, the more rarefied the atmosphere gets. In our first year we picked up 36 points and fifth place
in the championship. But the fourth-placed team walked away with 86 points. That’s worlds apart.”

 

“I learnt a lot in 2006”, says Kubica, “and in 2007 I want to put it into action and learn more. To be standing on the podium for the first time after a Formula One race was an incredible experience. I want more of it.”

 

Sebastian Vettel outlines his task: “The better I get to know the car and the team, the more I can support them with my test work. I will make every effort to do as much groundwork as possible for Nick and Robert.” 

 

It will be interesting to see what effect the switch to a single tyre supplier has in 2007. The Formula One teams will all be lining up with Bridgestone Potenza tyres over the coming season following the withdrawal of Michelin from the World Championship. BMW had been supplied by Michelin
in Formula One since 2001, while Sauber can look back on the experience collected with Bridgestone between 1999 through to 2004. “A single tyre supplier will close the performance gap between the teams”, confirms Theissen.

In addition to the new tyre stipulations, there have also been changes to the regulations in other areas. The major technical modifications include further restrictions on engine specification. The powerplants introduced for 2007 will provide the technical basis for the teams’ engines up to and including the 2010 season. Engine speed is capped at 19,000 rpm and the units once again have to cover two GP weekends, although the Fridays are now exempt from this rule. In 2007 the Fridays will feature two 90-minute sessions in which the teams may send out a maximum of two cars. This will mean much more on-track action on the first day of the weekend. Testing, however,
will be substantially reduced, with the teams each allowed to cover a maximum of 30,000 kilometres in 2007. In 2006, the BMW Sauber F1 Team racked
up 43,659 test kilometres alone between January and the end of the season.

 

Successful debut season in 2006.

The fledgling team made light of an extremely short start-up phase – there were just six months between BMW’s decision to acquire a majority stake
in Sauber and the team’s presentation – to achieve surprising success in its debut season. Between them, BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers made
19 appearances in the qualifying top ten (Heidfeld = 10, Kubica = 5,
Jacques Villeneuve = 4), while the best starting position was Heidfeld’s third place on the grid in Monza. The team also recorded 15 points finishes (Heidfeld = 10, Villeneuve = 4, Kubica = 1) and got its hands on two trophies, courtesy of Heidfeld’s third place in Budapest and Kubica’s repeat performance in Monza. The reliability rankings, meanwhile, show the
BMW Sauber F1 Team in fourth position with 22,281 race kilometres completed. The team finished its first season on the grid in fifth place
in the constructors’ standings.   

 

“Even more important than the good results”, underlined Theissen, “were our consistent improvements in performance. Far from falling back relative
to our competitors, we managed to achieve measurable advances under the pressurised conditions of a season in progress. That showed us that we’re
on the right path.”

 

The BMW Sauber F1 Team started the 2006 season with Heidfeld and Villeneuve as its race drivers, while Kubica belied his lack of experience
by posting some outstanding performances from the outset in both testing and during practice on the Fridays of the race weekends.

 


At the 13th grand prix of the year in Budapest, Kubica was handed his chance of a race drive in the second F1.06 alongside Heidfeld. The Pole did everything asked of him under extremely challenging conditions, and crossed the finishing line in seventh place having raced for 51 laps on intermediate tyres. However, a combination of unexpectedly high tyre wear and an empty fire extinguisher – the container had shed its two-kilogram load of “light
water” in a brush with a barrier – meant that Kubica’s car was found to be two kilos short of the minimum weight in the post-race technical inspection.

 

His consequent disqualification, though, could not detract from a consummate exhibition of racing skill. A few days later the team parted company with Villeneuve, and Vettel took over the role of Friday driver at the Turkish GP. Providing sound technical feedback and topping the time lists, he duly followed in Kubica’s footsteps to be confirmed as test and reserve driver for 2007.

 

 

 

Results BMW Sauber F1 Team 2006.

 

Nick Heidfeld

Jacques Villeneuve

 

 

Q

Races

Pts

Q

Races

Pts

Team

placing

BHR

10

12

11

DNF

MAL

15

DNF

14

7

2

6

AUS

8

4

5

9

6

3

5

SMR

15

13

12

12

5

EUR

15

10

9

8

1

5

ESP

10

8

1

14

12

5

MCO

16

7

2

15

14

5

GBR

9

7

2

10

8

1

5

CDN

13

7

2

11

accident

5

USA

10

accident

6

DNF

5

FRA

12

8

1

18

11

6

GER

16

DNF

14

accident

6

 

Nick Heidfeld

Robert Kubica

 

HUN

11

3

6

10

DSQ (7)

6

TUR

6

14

9

12

6

ITA

3

8

1

7

3

6

5

CHN

8

7

2

9

13

5

JPN

9

8

1

12

9

5

BRA

8

accident

9

9

5

 

 

Time flies.

 

The contract was signed in June 2005 and by 2006 the
BMW Sauber F1 Team was marking its debut in the FIA Formula One World Championship.

 

 

22nd June 2005           At a press conference in Munich, BMW’s takeover of the majority stake in Sauber AG is announced.

 

                                      Credit Suisse extends its sponsorship contract by a further three years and becomes the official partner of the BMW Sauber F1 Team from 2006. 

 

July 2005                     Joint working groups are set up, the first meetings are held in Munich and Hinwil, and the integration process begins.

 

September 2005         Staffing requirements are laid down and more than 100 applicants for new jobs are invited for interviews in Hinwil.

 

16th September 2005 BMW announces it has signed up Nick Heidfeld.

 

14th November 2005   The name “BMW Sauber F1 Team” is confirmed.

 

24th November 2005   The BMW Sauber F1 Team and Petronas sign a
four-year contract in Kuala Lumpur. The Malaysian oil and gas company becomes the premium partner of the team.

 

28th November 2005   First test in Barcelona for the Sauber C24B interim chassis with the BMW P86 V8 engine.

 

1st December 2005     Jacques Villeneuve is confirmed as team driver.

 

15th December 2005   The BMW Group and Intel announce a comprehensive partnership. Intel also becomes an Official Corporate Partner of the BMW Sauber F1 Team.

 


20th December 2005   Robert Kubica is signed on as the team’s test and reserve driver.

 

1st January 2006          BMW completes the shareholding takeover.

 

16th/17th January 2006          The BMW Sauber F1 Team presents itself to the public in Valencia. The BMW Sauber F1.06 has
its first outing.

 

February 2006             Planning application for the extension of the Hinwil facility.

 

12th March 2006          The BMW Sauber F1 Team contests its first
grand prix in Bahrain.

 

19th March 2006          The team secures its first world championship
points in the second race: Villeneuve comes seventh in Malaysia.

 

2nd April 2006              The third GP sees both drivers finishing in the
points: in Australia, Heidfeld comes fourth and Villeneuve sixth.

 

6th May 2006                Dell becomes an official partner of the team.

 

May 2006                     Work begins on the design of the BMW Sauber F1.07.

 

6th August 2006           Kubica runs his first Formula One race in Budapest.
In the team’s 13th world championship race, Heidfeld secures its first podium place.

 

7th August 2006           The BMW Sauber F1 Team and Villeneuve part company.

 

25th August 2006         In Istanbul, Sebastian Vettel takes on the task of the team’s “Friday driver” for the first time.

 

September 2006         Start of the construction phase for the Sauber F1.07.

 

 


10th September 2006            Kubica comes third in Monza to pick up the second trophy.

 

October 2006              The wind tunnel in Hinwil is now running three shifts. A year previously it had been on a single daily shift.

 

19th October 2006      The 2007 drivers are announced: Heidfeld and Kubica as team racing drivers, Vettel as test and reserve driver.

 

22nd October 2006      The BMW Sauber F1 Team concludes its debut year in fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship.

 

In the meantime, 100 new employees have been taken on at Hinwil, with a further 50 scheduled to follow.

 

28th November 2006   Start of winter testing in Barcelona.

 

30th November 2006   Timo Glock takes his first test for the team.

 

16th January 2007        Presentation of the BMW Sauber F1.07 and the
BMW Sauber F1 Team in Valencia.

 

1st March 2007            Deadline for submitting the final specifications of the homologation engine for the 2007, 2008,
2009 and 2010 World Championships to the FIA.

 

18th March 2007          First grand prix of the 2007 season in Melbourne.

 

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