Heidfeld out to impress in home race 20 Jul 2007
While Lewis Hamilton was being carted off to an early night to recover from the lingering after-effects of flu earlier in the week, and Honda were busy confirming Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello as their drivers again in 2008, BMW Saubers Nick Heidfeld has been looking forward to his home Grand Prix.
I think we are coming here knowing that we have a good package, he said, even though BMW Sauber didnt test a lot of new parts during the three-day outing at Spa-Francorchamps last week.
As in the last couple of races we are maybe trying to keep Renault behind us and trying to hold our position in the constructors championship. Of course we are trying to go forward and challenge Ferrari and McLaren, but as we have seen at Silverstone and Magny-Cours, they are too far ahead.
I got my very first pole here, my first and only one so far. I also finished second here the same weekend. Of course it would be fantastic to do the same again at my home grand prix.
This is where the greatest number of my fans have always turned up, and thanks to this year's good results there will probably be a few more. When I drove the Formula One car round the Nordschleife at the end of April, the atmosphere was fantastic. It's a good feeling having that kind of support, and one or other family members will also be coming along to the Ring. As a young kid I already had a lot of outings to the Nurburgring with my father and my two brothers as it isn't far away from Monchengladbach. Later on there were race wins in various classes to add to those pleasant childhood memories.
"I think we're pretty well prepared. Our performance potential is a great motivator. Naturally it's a lot more fun when you know you're essentially in contention for points and good placings. If qualifying turns out better for me than in Silverstone, I should also be back in the running for the race."
BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen is also feeling optimistic on an important weekend for the Swiss-German team.
"The Grand Prix at the Nurburgring is the only Formula One home race for us in 2007. Naturally we are very excited at the prospect. But you can't afford to lose your concentration. Home races don't earn you any more points than elsewhere.
"This one gives us time for an interim appraisal. We have every reason to be satisfied with what we have achieved so far. Our goal for 2007 was to make it on to the podium on our own merit. Nick already managed that in Montreal with his second place, at the same time claiming our best individual result so far. I am confident this will not be our last podium finish this year. We have clearly established ourselves as the third strongest team and we have no intention of relinquishing that position during the remainder of the season. For 2007 we have already notched up 56 points. Last year we finished the season with 36. We have come away from every Grand Prix with points.
"I'm particularly pleased with all of this since we haven't yet completed our two-year development phase. The Hinwil factory extension won't be ready until the end of the year: that's when we will be operating at full power. I am convinced that the route we have chosen is the right one."
BMW Sauber are widely expected to confirm Robert Kubica for 2008 this weekend. It seems inconceivable that Heidfeld wont be his partner again in one of Formula One racings most improved teams.