For the first time this year, BMW will run a medium-downforce specification during this weekend's Belgian Grand Prix at the stunning Spa-Francorchamps circuit.
“Spa is the first circuit this season where we will be running medium downforce with the 2009 cars,” confirmed BMW head of engineering Willy Rampf. “Up to now, we have sent the cars out with high downforce for every GP. The difference is considerable and means we will use special wings at Spa.”
BMW heads into round twelve of its final F1 season with Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica just 13th and 14th in the championship. Both are big fans of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, with Heidfeld hoping to once again exploit the notoriously fickle weather.
“The 2008 race was one of my best ever. I was running in the points and decided shortly before the end of the race to switch onto wet-weather tyres,” he recalled. “It turned out to be a spot-on decision and put me eventually into second. Sudden changes in the weather can have a decisive effect on this grand prix. Even if it's hot all over Europe, there might still be torrential rain at Spa.”
“The weather is always unpredictable and mostly changeable. It might be dry on some parts of the track and it might rain heavily on others. Driving in Spa is challenging and it is always exciting to come here,” added Kubica.
“Spa - only three letters, but a place with so much motor racing history,” said BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen. “Spa is an essential date on the F1 calendar. We love coming to this small, sleepy Belgian town.
“Spa is a fantastic natural race circuit tucked away in the beautiful, rugged Ardennes. Recent modifications have meant Eau Rouge is now taken flat out in the dry, creating the longest full-throttle section of the season. As this part of the track also rises significantly, engine output and durability are really put to the test.
“The second defining feature of Spa is the unpredictable weather. It changes very quickly; rain can suddenly set in, but sometimes only over one section of the track. We are aiming to record another good result in the penultimate race of the European season,” he concluded.