2007 Review: BMW

November 7, 2007 at 4:49 am Leave a comment

This is the third in F1-Pitlane’s multi-part season review of each constructor. Today we take a look at BMW, who took a giant stride forward in 2007.

2007 was the year that BMW-Sauber emerged from the midfield to spearhead the challenge against the front two. However, they were always a league short of McLaren and Ferrari and decided to focus on their 2008 car early, which caused performance to dip a tad in the last few races.

The car

It shouldn’t be a surprise that in their second full season BMW Sauber established themselves as the third best team in F1. The BMW engine was always a contender with Williams and now that BMW has invested heavily in the Sauber operation they are reaping the rewards — one must wonder whether Frank Williams has any regrets.

The engine was reliable, as most are these days under the 19,000 rpm limit rules, and only once did the motor give up, which resulted in Kubica forfeiting ten spots on the grid at Spa. However, it was with the transmission and hydraulics where the team floundered, which led to five retirements. If the team is to mount a serious challenge these issues will have to be overcome.

BMW also put FIA’s stringent crash tests under the spotlight. In Montreal Kubica’s car flew into a concrete wall at 180+ mph and scuttled and span down the tarmac coming to rest several hundred metres down the straight. By all accounts he should have been dead but it is a testament to all involved in F1 that he walked away with nary an injury and was back in the car three weeks later.

The organisation

Although arguably overshadowed by the drama between McLaren and Ferrari, BMW was an advert for German efficiency. Mario Theissen runs a tight ship and BMW have a promote from within policy that has seen Chistoph Zimmerman, who has been in the organisation for 20 years, ascend to chief designer after the departure of Jorg Zander to Honda in the mid-season.

Not much else to report.

The drivers

This was the year when many expected Robert Kubica to outshine his senior partner Nick Heidfeld. It was not to be as Heifeld was consistently quicker and finished with 61 points and two podiums to Kubica’s 39 points and no podiums. Although it the Montreal incident cost Kubica two opportunities to score points afterwards he was, if anything, quicker. To underline the difference in speed Heidfeld was quicker on the one-lappers, out qualifying his team mate 11-5.

Kubica was pegged as “one to watch” as he entered his second F1 season and was somewhat overshadowed by Lewis Hamilton in the rookie stakes. One feels that next year is make or break for the young pole. He has publicly admitted that he is the weak link in the team. In 2008 he has to be on par with Heidfeld to be considered a serious racing driver.

The outlook

Exceptionally bright. If McLaren are distracted by their mega-fine then BMW could pounce as the natural challengers to Ferrari’s dominance. Add that development on the 2008 car started early expect the Munich-based outfit to assemble a formidable package.


Entry filed under: BMW, Teams.

2007 Review: Ferrari 2007 Review: Renault

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