Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Rampf: no regrets over BMW Sauber's radical approach 20 Feb 2008

Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.08 Formula One Testing, Day Three, Barcelona, Spain, 03 February 2008. World © Patching/Sutton Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.07. Formula One Testing, Day Four, Valencia, Spain, Thursday 24 January 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton Willy Rampf (SUI) BMW Sauber Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Saturday, 17 March 2007 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.08. Formula One Testing, Day Three, Valencia, Spain, Wednesday 23 January 2008. World © Hartley/Sutton

BMW Sauber technical director Willy Rampf believes his team were right to be adventurous in their approach to the design of the new F1.08, despite admitting that maximising its performance is proving more difficult than with its predecessor.

At launch last month, Rampf described the F1.08’s design philosophy as one of ‘radical evolution’, but in subsequent testing sessions the car has failed to show the improvement in pace many had expected. Despite this, Rampf insists the team had no choice but to push the boundaries.

“In order to make a step forward our engineers pushed it to the limit in many different areas like aerodynamics, suspension, cooling, brakes, steering feedback and others,” he told Formula1.com. “This approach is the only option if you want to close the gap to the frontrunners. You don’t get to the top just by being conservative.

“The benchmark in Formula One is on a level that forces you to take calculated risks. And that’s exactly what we did. For us as a team it’s a new experience to work on such a level and we are going through a learning process which will make us even more competitive.”

The F1.07 scored an impressive 101 points last year, putting BMW Sauber second in the constructors’ championship and prompting the team to target a maiden win in 2008. And although Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica have struggled with the balance of the new car, Rampf believes that goal remains realistic, insisting the F1.08’s ultimate performance will be far superior to that of its forebear.

“There is no doubt that the F1.08 is considerably quicker that the F1.07, but it is more difficult to exploit its full potential at any given time and condition,” he said. “We still need a better understanding of the car, and we are learning every day. However, I have no doubt that we are getting there.”

BMW Sauber continue work on the F1.08 this week with an exclusive test session at the Spanish circuit of Valencia. Rain hampered progress on Tuesday, however, with Heidfeld and Kubica restricted to systems checks and practice starts and pit stops, running on wet and extreme-wet tyres.