Updated package ready for Istanbul
The BMW Sauber team had a hard time of it during the Monaco Grand Prix after a difficult qualifying session saw Nick Heidfeld
and Robert Kubica placing their F1.09s at the far end of the grid, on an urban circuit where successful overtaking
opportunities are few.
While Heidfeld struggled in traffic to reach 11th place at the finish line, far from the points zone, Kubica had an ever harder time of it: contact with Lewis Hamilton's McLaren caused a puncture for the Pole in the very early stages of the race, forcing him to make an unscheduled visit to the pit lane in order to change his right rear tyre.
Kubica returned to the track with his race ruined, but it would all be academic as he retired on lap 28 due to braking issues. Overall, a Monaco weekend to forget for the German-Swiss team.
Now the Turkish Grand Prix is a few days away and BMW Sauber engineers have been working on updating the F1.09 package for the high-speed Istanbul Park circuit. In particular, Heidfeld and Kubica will now benefit from a double diffuser design for the first time this season.
The BMW teammates are looking forward to confirming that the lack of pace in Monte Carlo was only a one-off due to the unique characteristics of the famous urban venue.
"The track in Istanbul is totally different to Monaco," Kubica, who has yet to open his points account this year, said. "It is a very modern race track with a couple of high-speed corners. The most famous high-speed corner there is the left-hander Turn 8."
"Of course, we hope to perform better in Istanbul than in Monaco," he added.
"I hope our dismal performance in Monaco proves to be a glitch and that it was down to that particular circuit being unsuitable for our car," Heidfeld expressed. "After all, there were signs of a forward trend at the previous race in Spain, and the next update is ready for Istanbul."
Contrary to the situation in Monaco, there is ample space to attempt overtaking manoeuvres on the Istanbul Park circuit. If the upgraded package fitted to the BMW Sauber cars brings the sought-after step forward in performance, Heidfeld and Kubica won't be getting caught up in traffic this time.
However, on a lighter note, complications remain in regards to the local avenues: with the bridge crossing the Bosphorus the only way to pass from Istanbul on the European side to the circuit situated on the Asian side, Heidfeld has already hatched a plan to deal with the urban traffic.
"It's a vast city, very international and fascinating," he said. "I'm staying at a hotel on the European side again and will take a motor scooter to carve my way through the congestion over the bridge to Asia."