2007 Team Review - BMW Sauber 27 Nov 2007
As Renault, Honda and Toyota each fell by the wayside, BMW Sauber raised their game in 2007 to dominate the midfield and lead the charge against frontrunners Ferrari and McLaren. Taking the best of the rest prize by a hefty margin, this has certainly been the German-Swiss squads season.
In only their second year since acquiring Sauber, few expected BMW to be such potent force in 07. True, they may score the occasional point, but podiums? It all seemed a little unlikely. In reality, however, the squad proved much stronger, becoming the only competitor, apart from McLaren and Ferrari, to take points in every race.
Initially during winter testing, however, there had been concerns. The F1.07 looked fast but a little frail. But once these minor reliability glitches had been cleared up, drivers Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica had a quick and consistent car at their disposal and throughout the season both were able to use it to good effect.
Heidfeld especially was able to get the most out of the car. Many had considered the German to have reached the twilight years of his career, but the arrival of Kubica as his team mate at the tail end of the 2006 season worked wonders, spurring him on to better and better results as 2007 progressed.
In total, he graced the podium twice and scored in all but three races, taking 61 points in all to place him fifth in the rankings. Kubica, who had wowed as a rookie the season before, continued to impress with solid performances. Though the Pole was largely overshadowed by his more-experienced team mate, his quick recovery from a huge accident in Montreal was testimony to his potential.
Together the pair formed one of the most successful driver combinations on the 2007 grid. Importantly the team was motivated enough to push on with their car development. Despite never quite getting on an even keel with Ferrari and McLaren, and without the drive of a close competitor chasing them from behind, the F1.07 still showed a steady improvement throughout the season.
No doubt, the news chief designer Jorg Zander was to leave for Honda was a blow, but having recently promoted Christoph Zimmerman to the position, all looks set for the team to make even more gains with their 2008 car.