BMW Sauber has sunk in the puddles to an all time low with the Chinese Grand Prix and something needs to be done asap. Less talk from Mario Theissen about diffusers and more work to be competitive.
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Nick Heidfeld lined up on the grid in 11th place after getting everything out of the car with the best lap he could. KERS probably was the only reason he made it through to session 2 as the car lacked overall grip and neither the choice of super soft or soft tire choice mattered.
As far as Robert Kubica was concerned, he was not happy with the car from the time it landed in China and he was pinning his hopes that fitting his car with the KERS device for the first time this season would help. He hadn’t used the device because of it’s added weight which combined with his extra weight being a heavier driver left little room for ballast to balance out the car. Adding KERS for China almost seemed like a desperation move and after testing it out in Friday practice it was quickly removed proving it was a waste of time.
Qualifying for Kubica was anything but spectacular. In session one his sector times were off the pace and each lap he did the car was almost a full second off the leaders. By the time the session was over Kubica finished 18th only faster than the two Force India cars.
Race day came with hopes that Heidfeld using KERS may be able to grab a point or two and when the race started in the rain and Heidfeld becoming a wet weather specialist that seemed a definite possibility.
Rain wasn’t heavy, but there was a lot of water on the track surface forcing the race to start behind the safety car. For BMW Sauber, this wasn’t the best scenario having overall grip problems combined with the low speeds of the safety car prevented any sort of heat build up in the tires. When the safety car pulled off, a cool track combined with low initial speeds made it very difficult for either Heidfeld or Kubica to get enough heat in the tires to make any headway at all.
On lap 13 Timo Glock tried an inside pass on Heidfeld, bumped him and sent him spinning to the outside of the track. After letting most of the field through, Heidfeld continued, but with damage to the car adding to the already difficult driving. Nick did manage to work his way close to the points both through passing and attrition, but near the end of the race Adrian Sutil had a big shunt into the wall sending one of his tires rolling onto the track hitting Heidfeld and causing even more damage to his car. He ended up losing 4 more places as a result and finished 12th.
If that wasn’t enough, the Kubica’s race wasn’t any better. Visibility was terrible and driving behind another car all but made it impossible to see. This caused Kubica’s first incident of the day and it was a spectacular one. When Jarno Trulli in front of him braked, Kubica didn’t see this and piled straight into the back of him launching him up into the air and back to the track. Surprisingly the car sustained little permanent damage other than the nose and after a quick pit stop to change the nose he was back out. Later in the race Kubica hit some standing water sending him off the track where once again he damaged his nose and was forced to once again come into the pits for a new one.
By the time this painful experience was over both drivers did finish the race, but Heidfeld in 12th and Kubica in 13th.
Now heading over to Bahrain there is only one way to look and that’s up.