Posts filed under ‘BMW’

FIA botch fuel decision

Unbelievable. What next?

At the cost of millions of pounds the FIA World Motorsport Council took two days to rule than McLaren’s appeal into the fuel irregularities of BMW and Williams was illegal. Two days? What the hell were they doing?

So what are the implications of the decision?

Well, the public objective of McLaren, namely wanting “rule clarification”,  has been thwarted as by throwing out the appeal the FIA could not adjudicate on whether of not the accused committed an offense. This will put the FIA in a very tricky spot next time this issue raises its ugly head. Are F1 teams now allowed to ignore fuel temperature differences? It would appear so. If any team is punished next season for the same offense then the decision of both the stewards at Interlagos and the FIA will seem hypocritical and laughable.

The other bone of contention is that no one connected with the sport wanted the title decided in court. I don’t think that is precisely correct — that may have been the view a month ago but we are where we are.  What people didn’t want was another FIA dodge, which we got. Forever more this non-ruling will leave a fug of uncertainty surrounding the 2007 championship. One other aspect that was particularly distasteful was the pressure applied to the FIA by F1 ringmasters Max Mosely and Bernie Ecclestone. This is supposed to be an independent court. Butt out. Imagine if in the US at the trial of a serial rapist the President said that he thought the offender deserved to go to death row … the President would likely end up in the slammer too.

One bright point is that Kimi Raikonnen deservedly emerges as World Champion. He was the fastest driver over the year (although possibly not the best) and is a genuinely good bloke. However, all the off track shenanigans will make this title seem slightly false. He’ll just have to go and win another one next year.

Bring on 2008 so we can finally put this fiasco behind us.


November 17, 2007 at 4:56 am Leave a comment

2007 Review: BMW

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.

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

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