BMW Sauber to bring major upgrade to Singapore 18 Sep 2009
This season may not have gone quite to plan for 2008 championship contenders BMW Sauber, but the team have responded to the F1.08s inherent lack of pace with an aggressive development programme.
With just four races left, and BMWs impending withdrawal to contend with, the team would be forgiven for refocusing attentions on 2010, but at next weekends Singapore Grand Prix they will introduce their most comprehensive upgrade since Augusts European Grand Prix, which they hope will bring a much-needed boost.
Following the last major update in Valencia, we will arrive in Singapore with another far-reaching development package, explained the teams head of engineering Willy Rampf. From an aerodynamics point of view, this comprises a new front wing, more deeply undercut sidepods, a further developed double diffuser and a modified rear wing. Added to which, the car also has a totally new gearbox. So, all in all, we are expecting to take another step forward here."
Even with this extensive upgrade, however, the team may yet hit a snag. At the last race in Monza both Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfelds cars succumbed almost simultaneously to engine failures during the second phase of qualifying. A post-event investigation found that the malfunctions were caused by valve problems, and both Kubica and Heidfeld now face a shortage of usable engines.
It means we can't use either of the engines again, explained BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen. Both drivers ran their engines from Spa in Sunday's race at Monza, which leaves them with one more new engine each and several used ones for the remainder of the season. The key question will now be whether these will be enough. If not, we will be forced to use a ninth engine and take a ten-place grid penalty as a result."
BMW Sauber are currently seventh in the constructors championship, with the same points tally (20) as fellow manufacturer team Renault, 10.5 adrift of Williams in sixth.