BMW Sauber drivers Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld will go into the final four flyaway races of the season – starting with next week’s Singapore Grand Prix – with only one new engine at their disposal after both their power plants caved in during qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix in Monza.
Team boss Mario Theissen confirmed that a problem with a valve gear caused the failures in Monza and that has left each driver with one new engine (in 2009 drivers are limited to eight engines per season).
“The cause of our engine problems in qualifying at Monza was a quality issue with the valve gear, and this means we can t use either of the engines again,” explained Theissen.
“Both drivers ran their engines from Spa in Sunday s race at Monza, which leaves them with one more new engine each and several used ones for the remainder of the season.
“The key question will now be whether these will be enough. If not, we will be forced to use a ninth engine and take a ten-place grid penalty as a result.â€
BMW Sauber’s engine failures blotted an otherwise strong performance in Monza with both Kubica and Heidfeld progressing to the top ten shoot-out. The team are hoping that further aerodynamic updates for Singapore will bring them closer to the front still.
“Following the last major update in Valencia, we will arrive in Singapore with another far-reaching development package,” confirmed BMW Sauber’s Head of Engineering, Willy Rampf.
“From an aerodynamics point of view, this comprises a new front wing, more deeply undercut sidepods, a further developed double diffuser and a modified rear wing. Added to which, the car also has a totally new gearbox. So, all in all, we are expecting to take another step forward here.â€
Kubica and Heidfeld meanwhile