BMW Sauber’s Robert Kubica was another victim of the championship shake-up that the Hungaroring so callously through up today.
In growing signs that BMW Sauber are starting to fall out of touch in this year’s title race perhaps as a result of focussing on next year’s car both drivers suffered from a distinct lack of pace in today’s Hungarian Grand Prix, the cause of which BMW say they are investigating.
Kubica, who only a few races ago was leading the world championship after a string of podiums and a dazzling victory in Canada, managed to pull something out of the bag in qualifying he lined up in fourth place – but come the race, he, like team-mate Heidfeld, struggled with severe handling issues on his F1.08.
“This was a difficult race,” mulled the Pole after trailing home in eighth. “We were very slow and I was struggling with the overall grip of the car. I had massive oversteer and could not really push. I was trying hard to keep the car on the track. Anyway, one point is better than nothing.”
Nick Heidfeld’s race wasn’t much better, but the German managed to claw his way up to tenth thanks in part to an impressive start having started a disappointing fifteenth.
“My start wasn’t perfect but okay,” commented the 31-year-old. “As I had hoped, I was able to overtake three cars on the first lap. But later it became more difficult than expected to race with the heavy car.”
“We went for a one stop strategy, so my car was almost full of fuel at the start and I also had to take care of the tyres. I couldn’t match the pace of the cars in front of me. Now we have to analyse today’s lack of race pace. Normally this is one of our strengths!”
Indeed, BMW were left scratching their head after today’s performance. Team Boss Mario Theissen admitted the team would investigate the causes, but with the summer development freeze coming into place, it remains to be seen how much of a step forward the Hinwil and Munich team will take before Valencia.
“We were completely off the pace during the race,” bemoaned Theissen. “Neither driver was able to do the lap times we expected after the sessions on Friday and Saturday. It was the same on both tyre compounds.”
“The reason for that is currently not clear, but we shall analyse everything. Congratulations to Heikki Kovalainen for his maiden win in F1 and, of course, Timo Glock for his strong weekend, crowned by finishing second.”
Willy Rampf BMW Sauber’s Technical Director added: “Of course we are very disappointed with today’s performance. Now we need to analyse why we were not able to match our qualifying performance during the race.”
“We shall do this in the factories in Hinwil and Munich because, due to the testing break, we are not able to test before the next race in Valencia in three weeks.”