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Development continues at BMW Sauber

Despite the management in Munich opting to pull the plug on its Formula One involvement from the end of the 2009 season, BMW Sauber team boss Mario Thiessen has revealed that development of the F1.09 will continue apace until the final race.

Although uncertainty remains over the future of the team, with potential replacements already being lined up by the media, Thiessen and original founder Peter Sauber continue to work on a rescue plan, hoping to find the finance necessary to move forward by the end of September.

On track, meanwhile, the squad received a major morale boost by being the only operation to get both its cars home in the points at Spa-Francorchamps on Sunday, doubling its points tally for the season.

Thiessen admitted that fourth and fifth places, for Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld respectively, had not been predicted before the weekend - or even after the pair qualified fifth and third on Saturday - but emphasised the work that had gone into - and will continue to go into - improving the team's performance between now and the season finale in Abu Dhabi in November.

"Nine world championship points scored in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa - we certainly had not bargained on this result," he wrote in his regular column on the team's official website, "That said, things ran smoothly from Friday.

"Spa was the first race this season to require medium and not high downforce levels, thus we brought to Belgium a modified front wing and new rear wing, and found out on Friday that this package suited the circuit's characteristics. In addition, the tyres worked in harmony with the chassis. It was extremely interesting to discover that, for the first time this season, the harder tyre proved conclusively faster during qualifying than the soft compound, and [we] were able to apply this to good effect on Saturday.

"Unfortunately, things did not run according to plan in the race. Nick lost his chance of a podium place in the chicane after the Kemmel straight, and Robert lightly damaged his front wing after some contact with [Kimi Raikkonen]. Although this did not necessitate an unscheduled pit-stop, it naturally was not optimal. However, Robert was still almost able to finish in third place.

"After Sebastian Vettel's second stop, he was just two seconds shy of retaining third place. Thus he finished fourth, with Nick fifth, providing a total of nine points - precisely the combined score of the previous eleven races!"

The developments for Spa are not the end of BMW Sauber's programme either, Thiessen insisted, pointing out that new parts would continue to be added to the F1.09 with an eye on next season, albeit not under the works banner.

"After we announced BMW's exit from F1, we stated that we would be continuing the planned development programme for the F1.09 [and], for the grand prix in Valencia, we had a package which provided a clear step forward," he reminded, "Here in Spa, we were able to exploit the improved performance of the car and, naturally, we are hoping for more of the same at Monza's high-speed circuit in two weeks' time, where a low-downforce set-up is required. Then, for the race in Singapore, we have a comprehensive development package, from which we are expecting a clear increase in speed."

With no obvious buyer on the horizon, and both Thiessen and Sauber attempting to find support for a Brawn-esque rescue, every point and good performance will be vital in the coming weeks, but the team boss has no concerns about morale, especially after Spa.

"The entire team is highly motivated, and intends proving precisely what we are really capable of," he pointed out.

Related Pictures

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Nick Heidfeld [Pic credit: BMW]
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TAz - Unregistered

September 01, 2009 3:29 PM

Actually Mario (the man) Tyson has said the development of next years car is currently ongoing until the team closes, I guess they can't stop their new car program or no one will touch them. It's probably Jenkins in the back office with a copy of Adobe Photoshop designing the car tho :p


September 01, 2009 9:33 AM

They be as well develop the car - not as if they are going to be able to stop developing this car halfway through the season and develop their all conquering car for nex year is it?

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