BMW suspend third driver plans 04 May 2007
Germany's Sebastian Vettel will be consigned to the role of reserve for next weekends Spanish Grand Prix after
BMW Sauber confirmed they will not be using a third driver in Friday practice sessions for the foreseeable future.
Vettel appeared in one session at the opening two rounds of the season, in line with BMW Saubers aim of developing their young driver talent. However, with testing away from races more limited this year, race drivers Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica were reluctant to give up valuable track time.
This, combined with BMW Saubers unexpectedly strong start to the year, looks to have prompted the team to reconsider the issue.
"As announced, following the overseas races we have been looking closely at the driver line-up for the Friday of the GP weekends, said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. Until further notice, the two race drivers will be on track for the whole of Friday.
BMW Sauber lie a convincing third in the standings heading to Barcelona, after impressive showings in the flyway races to date, including three fourth places for Heidfeld. The team are now keen to maintain that momentum as the Formula One calendar moves to Europe.
"Our performances in the first three rounds of the world championship have given us a very good start to the season and we have used the time since the Bahrain Grand Prix to fit in some intensive development work, added Theissen.
Our rivals will certainly have been doing much the same, though, and the burning question is whether the balance of power has shifted as a result. Our aim is very clear - to maintain our position as the third-best team on the grid.
At last years Spanish Grand Prix, BMW Sauber scored one point, thanks to Heidfelds eighth place. His then team mate Jacques Villeneuve finished 12th.