A look back at BMW Sauber's second season
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen looks back on what was a tremendous second season for the BMW Sauber squad. The team head into the 2008 season chasing its first Grand Prix victory, but with 101 points between Nick Heidfeld
Robert Kubica and Sebastian Vettel this year, Theissen has every reason to be upbeat.
How would you rate the BMW Sauber F1 Team's second season?
"It was a strong season at the end of which we even managed to crack the 100 points barrier. We went into the season having finished fifth in the World Championship on 36 points in our debut year. We set ourselves the goal of fourth place and a much bigger points total this year, so third was a great bonus."
"The powers that be then promoted us even further, but it is a pretty empty second place in our eyes. After all, we're well aware that four cars have been faster than us, and we want to beat them on the track, not in the corridors of power. It was surprising that we were the third-best team from the outset and were able to reinforce this position in practically every race. On occasions we were even able to break into the territory of the two leading teams, meaning that we recorded the podium positions we were aiming for on merit."
"To sum up, we can be proud of what we have achieved - both as far as our development work over the winter is concerned and in terms of our pace of development during the course of the season. We have managed to meet our targets in both of our development years so far, so the engineers can see that our ideas are working. That breeds confidence in our strategy, and as a result they can see that we are heading in the right direction.
What were the highlights of 2007 for you?
"For me the highlight of the season was Montreal. Nick's second place gave the team its best result so far. And the fact that Robert was able to emerge from his crash practically unhurt was a great advert for the strength and outstanding construction of the car. When you look at it this way, the weekend felt like a victory on two fronts for the team."
Were there also some low points?
"Yes, there were a few of those as well - most significantly the shock that went through us all when Robert had that accident in Montreal. We had an agonizing few minutes before we received the welcome news that he was practically uninjured. Other, less dramatic, low points were the retirements due to technical problems. You can never rule out these kinds of issues entirely, but it hurts the whole team when one of the drivers takes nothing away from a race on Sunday, because they have received no reward for all their hard work. Having said that, we finished in the points in every race this season, which meant we didn't go away from any of the 17 race weekends empty-handed."
Where have you seen the greatest progress since 2006?
"In 2006 we still had a weakness on low-speed circuits, but that was no longer the case in 2007."
Source BMW Sauber