Japan GP: Qualifying notes - BMW


It was mixed fortunes for the BMW Sauber F1 Team drivers when the cars took to the wet track for qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix at the Fuji Speedway. The track conditions meant the team used Bridgestone extreme wet tyres only in the beginning of Qualifying 1 and then wets. Nick Heidfeld was fifth fastest while Robert Kubica was tenth. Qualifying was the first time the drivers had done any running as the third free practice session was cancelled. This was due to visibility problems that meant the medical helicopter could not be used, although when the fog lifted slightly the cars were sent out, but only completed an installation lap.

Nick Heidfeld: I am very happy with fifth. I hoped at the start I had a slight chance of catching one of the Ferraris in the wet conditions, but it didn't work out. Qualifying wasn't easy, but in general the grip level of this circuit in the wet is pretty good. During the final laps I couldn't improve, as the last set of new tyres degraded too quickly. The weather forecast currently varies, but if I had my choice I would wish for a race under wet conditions.

Robert Kubica: It was not very good for me at all during qualifying. Unfortunately we missed some experience of running in the wet. I had graining and I don't think our timing was right in qualifying three. We now have to see how the weather is tomorrow, although on today's performance I would prefer dry.

Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director): The weather conditions today were very unusual. Nevertheless we have the usual picture for the first five starting positions. With Robert not everything went perfect in Q3, but Nick did well in all three qualifying sessions. The weather predictions for tomorrow are not clear. We have to prepare for a wet race and for a drying track. I think we can expect different race strategies tomorrow and, therefore, an interesting race.

Willy Rampf (Technical Director): It was an unusual Saturday. After only being able to work on a dry set-up on Friday we did not have the chance to work on a wet set-up in today's third free practice. Nevertheless we got both cars into the top ten again. The fact that not everything works perfectly under these conditions is obvious if you look at Robert. Nick on the other hand has a good starting position. Because of the expected weather for Sunday we can look forward to an interesting race.

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Published: 29/09/2007
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