BMW drivers rue engine failures

Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld both endured a disasterous Italian Grand Prix qualifying session after suffering successive engine failures during Q2.

Before the failures, the BMW-Sauber drivers had looked competitive all weekend and looked set to have a strong grid position.

Nick Heidfeld will line up in fifthteenth place for tomorrow’s race, with Kubica in thirteenth. However the Polish driver will be under increasing pressure for the rest of the season as he only has one more engine left in his allocation.

Robert Kubica – 13th: “This is a very difficult situation for me, not only for this Grand Prix but also for the next races. I do not have many engines left. It is also unfortunate for Nick who was very competitive here. Although I was struggling a bit I was quite confident of making it into the final qualifying session. I was struggling a little bit with the car in the first qualifying session, but it was better right from the start of the second one. I managed to do quite a good lap, but unfortunately had traffic for the next two laps. The engine problem makes my position for the final races of the season very complicated.”

Nick Heidfeld – 15th: “It is a real shame having an engine problem after it all looked so promising. We had a good qualifying in Spa where I was third, and in this morning’s free practice I was third again. I was certainly expecting a good qualifying result after the car was quite quick here. Reliability problems are very exceptional for our team and, of course, it is very strange that Robert and I both had problems with two new engines within a few minutes. We will find out what the reason was. Qualifying 15th will make it difficult, but I will not give up and make the most of it.”

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “Both drivers were stopped by engine failures in the second part of qualifying. As far as we can see from the data they both had the same problem. The two engines were new, therefore the reason cannot be too much mileage or too high stress. A thorough analysis will only be possible once we have dismantled the engines. Of course, this has a negative effect on our race prospects. We expected good grid positions on this track. Obviously the failures also influence our engine planning for the remaining races of the season.”

Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “Our lap times in qualifying were as we expected them to be after this morning’s free practice. Our goal was to get both cars into the top ten qualifying, which was realistic. However, the two engine failures upset our plans. From 13th and 15th in qualifying it will be difficult to score points tomorrow.”