The BMW Sauber team completed two intense 4 day test sessions in Sakhir Bahrain this past month with some great development. Bahrain wasn’t in the schedule at that time, but because of poor weather in the previous session in Jerez and the lack of test time available, BMW Sauber, Ferrari, and Toyota elected to jet off to Bahrain.
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The first days of testing belonged to Robert Kubica yet it wasn’t rain and cold in Jerez, it started with fog which delayed the start of day one by 2 hours. After that, it was a fairly productive day.
The next 2 days were a little different when a sand storm blew in, stayed, and covered everything in a layer of sand. With sand blowing just about everywhere these 2 days were right-offs with only a minimal number of laps run. Day 2 Kubica clocked 22 laps and day 3 only an installation lap.
Once the sand storm blew off and the track cleared, weather was just about perfect and now with Christian Klien at the wheel serious work began. The focus was a lot of set-up work and working with different tire compounds through 125 laps. The next day with Klien again at the wheel, more set-up work was done and 131 laps completed.
The weather held for the rest of the sessions and Nick Heidfeld took the wheel for a lot of work. His first day involved set-up work again, evaluating tire compounds and some simulated race starts. What he didn’t expect to be testing was the on board fire extinguisher. When a kill switch cut off the main electronic control unit unexpectedly the fire extinguisher let go sending him to the pits for a clean and maybe a new racing suit.
It’s very difficult to get a feel for testing when we really don’t know exactly what has been accomplished and how the car is responding. Test times are completely irrelevant and the teams are pretty tight lipped when around the media. That said, the BMW Sauber team is very up beat and looking forward to Melbourne this month.
Willy Rampf – BMW Sauber Technical Coordinator
“Although we lost some time due to a sandstorm last week, the long test in Bahrain was very productive. We could work with the cars in temperatures we would not have encountered in Europe at this time of the year, making it good preparation for the first races of the upcoming season.”
“We worked mainly on the general set-up of the BMW Sauber F1.09, trying numerous solutions on the mechanical and aero side of the car as well as gaining experience with the three available tyre compounds. We also made good progress with KERS. Overall we reached our target of collecting as much data as possible about the car’s reactions to changes in the set-up.”
The team has come out of the gate this winter ready and fully prepared with their winter game plan working flawlessly. Getting started on the F1.09 early in the 2008 season with a clear direction and very effective test sessions has many F1 journalists praising the team as ahead of everybody on preparation for the 2009 season which is now less than a month away.
Today is day 2 of testing back in Jerez and once again weather in the form of rain is having an impact on everybody. BMW Sauber will be testing with just about every other team through until Thursday and I will sum up this session once it’s done.
This article was written by Stew, a talented and passionate writer for BMWF1blog, the largest BMW Sauber F1 related blog.