F1.06 completes maiden track outing 17 Jan 2006
On Tuesday afternoon Nick Heidfeld drove the very first installation lap with the new BMW Sauber F1.06 at the Valencia circuit in Spain. After returning to the garage for the usual checks, he continued to clock up a total of 29 laps at this systems check.
Afterwards, Heidfeld said: I have been much more nervous than before any other roll-out I have experienced because this is a bigger and long-term programme, and I feel so much passion for this project. The first laps were absolutely trouble free, and to begin with I used intermediate tyres as the track was still damp in places. After this first experience I am really looking forward to the forthcoming test days, as we continue to work further in order to find out where we are.
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen explained: The initial roll-out is the most exciting moment of the year for the engineers. After some nine months of development and simulation we could finally run the car in real time for the first time and get feedback from the driver. We are very pleased that this first day of systems checking ran so smoothly. Thats a good beginning. Now the car is gaining momentum and getting faster and faster with every lap.
Heidfeld clocked a best time of 1m 13.430s in the new car, which compared favourably with the 1m 14.037s set by team mate Jacques Villeneuve at the wheel of the teams interim car, a Sauber C24B fitted with the new BMW V8 engine. The team will continue testing both cars at Valencia until Thursday.