Mario Theissen insists the gearbox problems that forced Nick Heidfeld into retirement in the Spanish Grand Prix have been solved ahead of the fifth round of the Formula 1 Championship at Monaco.

Although Heidfeld's hopes of points had already been ruined by a botched pit-stop, a gearbox failure for the German came just as the team were hoping the reliability problems that blighted their pre-season had been resolved.

Nonetheless, BMW Motorsport Director Theissen claims the fault was diagnosed and learned from before the end of the weekend, while the pit-stop mix-up has also been dealt with ahead of a race that is likely to reward reliability, as well as pace.

"The Monaco Grand Prix is fascinating," he said. "On the one hand it's the highlight of the season, and on the other it's an anachronism. The race puts the teams under extreme pressure due to the narrow circuit, it's an extreme challenge for the drivers because of the sheer precision it demands, and for the spectators it's a unique experience to be so close.

"We managed to get to the bottom of the gearbox problem in Nick's F1.07 in Barcelona before the race day was over, and corrective measures were already being applied during the test in Paul Ricard. We have also worked through Nick's botched-up pit stop and learnt the lessons for any future incidents.

"For us in Monte Carlo it's a case of notching up a fault-free weekend and further cementing our third place in the constructors' standings."

However, although the team completed a successful test at Paul Ricard ahead of the Monaco weekend, BMW technical director Willy Rampf admits the uniqueness of the circuit means results are always hard to predict.

"Monaco is a circuit you simply can't compare with any other. It's always got some surprises up its sleeve and the latest team rankings can easily be shaken up here. After our positive test session in Paul Ricard I think we are well prepared.

"Monaco is the circuit with the lowest average speed, which is why maximum downforce is so important. Greater downward pressure takes precedence over efficiency, and coming out of the many slow turns demands good traction above all."

 

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