BMW Sauber heads to China

Racing | October 15th, 2008 by 17
kubica_japan_f1

With just two races left in the Formula One season, the BMW Sauber team heads to Shanghai this weekend, the third in the season’s Asian …

BMW Sauber heads to China
With just two races left in the Formula One season, the BMW Sauber team heads to Shanghai this weekend, the third in the season’s Asian leg.

Following this past weekends race in Fuji, Japan, the BMW Sauber F1 Team is third in the Constructors’ Championship, 13 points behind leader Ferrari.

In Fuji, the team claimed its eleventh podium of the 2008 season, with Robert Kubica finishing second. It was Kubica’s seventh podium finish and his third second place. Nick Heidfeld finished tenth.

BMW Sauber heads to China“It’s a great result for the whole team at a time when it is not easy. We have been struggling a little bit recently and we were under pressure from some teams, so this second place is a real boost for our morale. Now we have nothing to lose, but everything is possible,” said Kubica.

But Shanghai is next, just one week following the race in Fuji. China has been a stop for Formula One since 2004. The Shanghai circuit is located outside the city, built on reclaimed marshland.

The track layout is based on the Chinese character “Shang”, which translates as “high” or “above”. The circuit designers brought a local flair with huge pit buildings and grandstands emulating traditional Chinese design features.

Because of the ongoing land reclamation, Shanghai is growing steadily. Shanghai lies on the Yangtze Delta where the river drains into the East China Sea.

BMW has its work cut out for it. The Formula One Constructors’ Championship is a tough title to achieve, especially when up against the likes of Ferrari and Renault. This weekend should be very telling whether or not they can grab it this season.

Written by Andrew, Guest Contributor, Ridestory.com

  • Gragop

    Well, thankfully BMW fans have Bob Kubica. Without him we’d probably not see but 1 podium finish for BMW this season. “Quick” Nick Heifeld hasn’t done much to really further the team aside from second place at Canada. The cars have improved so in turn his performance has but not nearly as well as Kubica.

    I’d be interested to see how Kubica and Mark Weber would do if he came back to BMW.

    Also – don’t forget the McLarens are going to be out there this weekend beside the Ferraris and Renaults. If Hamilton doesn’t make stupid moves that get him penalties or crash out he may be a serious competitor. He was on pole for this race last year.

  • http://www.ridestory.com/ Andrew

    Yea, I’ve been impressed with Kubica. Plus, he’s a fellow Pole so I’ve gotta support him! ;)

    Regarding the drivers, both Kubica and Heidfeld will return for the 2009 F1 season for BMW Sauber. Hopefully, we’ll see both improve. I agree with you regarding Heidfeld. But F1 is arguably one of the most competitive racing series in existence. But it would be nice to see him step it up next season.

    I didn’t mean to exclude the McLaren’s. Hamilton is an outstanding young talent. In Japan, he made some stupid mistakes. At the time, there was no reason for him to pass Massa. But he forced the issue, spun out and landed up trailing the entire field. During an F1 race, it’s basically impossible to recover from such an error.

  • Gragop

    @Andrew:

    Hamilton deseved to lose. He basically took the first two turns way to hard, tried cutting off half the field then started flatspotting his tires because he was too far inside the turn and trying to turn too late to keep Massa at bay. It was a series of dumb moves which he thankfully paid for.

    As for F1, yeah, it’s the most competitive series of racing but for as much hype as Heidfeld received from BMW about talent he hasn’t performed much whereas Kubica was more competitiveright out of the box when he replaced Villeneuve.

  • Gragop

    Wait – was it Villeneuve or Montoya he replaced? I can’t remember.

  • http://www.ridestory.com/ Andrew

    Jacques Villeneuve and Heidfeld drove for BMW Sauber for the 2006 season, with Kubica as their test and substitute driver. Villeneuve crashed at the German Grand Prix, with Kubica stepping in for the next race, which was the Hungarian Grand Prix. Villeneuve never came back, as he and BMW Sauber decided to part ways.

    And, of course, from then on, it’s been Heidfeld and Kubica.

    Prior to 2006, as you may remember, the team was known as BMW WilliamsF1. 2006 was the first season as BMW Sauber.

    Over the last few years, things have been slowly moving BMW’s way. Hopefully they can keep the trend alive.

  • Jurgen

    Kubica is great, but I think that Massa will take the crown this year.

  • Gragop

    @Jurgen:

    Agreed. BMW Sauber still isn’t where they need to be to take a drivers/constructors championship – but they’re getting there :-)

    Massa is almost at the point where he needs to retire though. Look at Coulthard. That guy should have retired from F1 when he left McLaren. I hope, for his reputation’s sake, Massa calls it quits when his contract with Ferrari is up – in what? 2010? Or is that just Raikkonen?

  • George

    Hamilton deserves the championship title this year not Massa.

  • Gragop

    @George:

    For what? braking way too late inside the first turns of Fuji and then running far too wide of track? Running into the back of Raikkonen? Running cars off of the road in places like Spa and Monza? Sorry – those aren’t the actions of a champion.

    Hamilton has massive raw talent but right now most of it’s overshadowed by his immaturity. How smart can he be that if, in his second year, he states he’s as good as Senna then screws the pooch at Fuji immediately there after?

  • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

    @Andrew: Great article Andrew, thank you.

    I used to be a fan of Villeneuve, but not sure what happened to him, he was a good driver.

  • http://www.ridestory.com/ Andrew

    After leaving BMW Sauber, Villeneuve drove in 2007 and 2008 for Peugeot in the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Apparently he wants to keep driving Le Mans until he wins or, I guess, until he no longer has a ride!

    If Villeneuve wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans, he will be the first since Graham Hill to win the Triple Crown of Motorsport since he’s won the Indianapolis 500 and the Formula One World Championship.

  • http://www.bmwblog.com Horatiu B.

    @Andrew: Interesting. I wish him good luck, his father was a great champion. And you’re on top of the Motorsport division :) good job

  • George

    @Gragop: Hamilton’s performance throughout the year was better than Massa’s and Raikkonen’s, unless you are ignorent to the sport. Running off cars is much better than hitting them on purpose like Massa did. In the end of the day it is a non contact sport and drivers are competitive, what do expect them to do?

    Finally, Hamilton said that he did not compare himself to Ayrton Senna, please check the link: http://f1.gpupdate.net/en/news/2008/10/14/hamilton-hits-back-at-critics/

  • Gragop

    @George:

    I don’t want Hamilton crashing or wrecking the field but it was a dumb move to lock up his brakes then dive into the corners like that. I think that’s poor driving.

    Sorry – I just don’t like Hamilton and I’m not part of the Tifosi but I’d rather see Ferrari win than McLaren. And yes, Hamilton had performed better than Raikkonen for sure considering how off he’s been this season I’m surprised Ferrari extended his contract.

  • George

    @Gragop: I don’t think that it makes any difference who will win the driver’s championship since it’s not going to be Kubica or Heidfeld. I am tired of the Tifosi arrogance and surely dispise what Ron Dennis and he his folks represent (see last year’s scandal).

    Hamilton is still an inexperienced driver (brake locking etc) but last year he outperformed the 2 times champion Alonso and drives really good in the rain and also performs good in the qualyfying sessions. He seems to be down to earth and that is something I like in a person’s character.

    I think that BMW should have kept Vettel, but at that time Heidfeld and Kubica where performing really well, so it was a tough decision. Finally, I apologize if I sounded like a smart a.. and offended you.

  • Gragop

    @George:

    No problem! Like I said earlier – Hamilton has tremendous raw talent – but I don’t think he’s mature enough yet to properly harness and use it.

    I also agree that he is one of the better wet weather drivers – his charge through the field at Spa in the rain was very impressive considering how far back he came from. Honestly, the duel between Hamilton and Raikonnen was the first time since I started watching F1 that I was on my feet cheering. Also – I would tend to agree that Hamilton was unfairly penalized at the end of that race as he did concede the lead position to Raikkonen.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Vettel goes to McLaren or back to BMW possibly in the 2010 season – it’s nice to see teams other than McLaren and Ferrari always on the podium. That goes to show that the lack of driver aids makes it a much more interesting race.

  • Jeff

    Hamilton is choking when he should be performing; I’m glad he didn’t win last year and I sure hope he doesn’t win this season either. A little humility and hard work will do him some good.

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