BMW-Sauber’s lackluster weekend continued with a poor Qualifying Session for the German-Swiss Squad. Nick Heidfeld qualified in fourteenth, while his team mate, Robert Kubica, could only manage one place better in thirteenth.
The team’s dismal performance was put down, by both drivers and management, to a lack of grip and balance with their cars. Kubica’s bid was further hampered by two small fires, which broke out in the pits during refuelling.
With this, the team admits that a points finish is unlikely in tomorrow’s race.
Robert Kubica – 13th: “We already knew before qualifying it would be difficult today. We lack overall performance. In qualifying 2 I struggled with the grip of the new option tyres. Additionally, our radio didn’t work today so, as a result, it was quite hard to fine-tune tyre pressures and stuff like that. On top of that, we also had two small fires during refuelling in the pits. Although this didn’t influence the performance, it didn’t help. However, we now have to go on working in a concentrated and calm way.”
Nick Heidfeld – 14th: “This was quite a difficult qualifying for us. A lack of pace is obvious and, as we are waiting for our aerodynamic update for Barcelona, it is clear we lose lap time in comparison to competitors who already have new parts. At least we knew this before qualifying. Also today the car’s balance between the runs was very inconsistent. On my second run in Q2 I was quicker than on my first of that session, but not as quick as in Q1. I was really fighting hard and missed the apex in turn nine. It seems unlikely we can collect points tomorrow, but certainly we will not give up and will try everything.”
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): “Qualifying was as difficult as expected after seeing the close gaps in free practice. One point five seconds between first and last means every weakness will result in a loss of a few grid positions. In the decisive second run in Q2 both our drivers complained about the car’s inconsistent balance and because of that were not able to fight for the top ten.”
Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering): “Of course we cannot be satisfied with our starting positions. After an acceptable Q1, in Q2 we were – in comparison to most of the others – not able to improve on our times from the first part of qualifying. This was the case, although the track conditions had improved. The reason for this has to be analysed. From these positions it will be very difficult to score in tomorrow’s race.”