BMW Hit Engine Trouble After Early Promise

by Vince Pettit

After posting good times in free practice BMW Sauber looked like they would be qualifying well at Monza, unfortunately for the team this wasn’t to be after both cars suffered engine problems within minutes of each other.

Nick Heidfeld who had finished the final practice session in 3rd place ended up in 15th place in qualifying after he was forced to pull over after his BMW developed engine trouble.

“It is a real shame having an engine problem after it all looked so promising.” he said. “We had a good qualifying in Spa where I was third, and in this morning's free practice I was third again. I was certainly expecting a good qualifying result after the car was quite quick here. Reliability problems are very exceptional for our team and, of course, it is very strange that Robert and I both had problems with two new engines within a few minutes. We will find out what the reason was.”

Heidfeld refused to throw the towel in early though adding “Qualifying 15th will make it difficult, but I will not give up and make the most of it.”

Team-mate Kubica finished Q2 just three places in front of Heidfeld but also suffered the same engine problems that troubled the young German.

“This is a very difficult situation for me, not only for this Grand Prix but also for the next races. I do not have many engines left. It is also unfortunate for Nick who was very competitive here. Although I was struggling a bit I was quite confident of making it into the final qualifying session. I was struggling a little bit with the car in the first qualifying session, but it was better right from the start of the second one. I managed to do quite a good lap, but unfortunately had traffic for the next two laps. The engine problem makes my position for the final races of the season very complicated.”

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen explained that initial reports show that both cars developed the same engine problem and that both engines were brand new.

“Both drivers were stopped by engine failures in the second part of qualifying. As far as we can see from the data they both had the same problem. The two engines were new, therefore the reason cannot be too much mileage or too high stress. A thorough analysis will only be possible once we have dismantled the engines. Of course, this has a negative effect on our race prospects. We expected good grid positions on this track. Obviously the failures also influence our engine planning for the remaining races of the season.”

Head of Engineering Willy Rampf added “From 13th and 15th in qualifying it will be difficult to score points tomorrow”

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