After the disappointing failures of Bahrain, BMW Sauber are targeting points finishes as F1 moves onto Australia in a just over a weeks time.
The team have analysed the set-up troubles and mechanical failures that plagued them in the Gulf, and are targeting a return to their impressive testing form when they reach Albert Park.
Pedro de la Rosa was very disappointed with the team’s performance in Bahrain, but realises that Albert Park presents its own challenges. “I'm very much looking forward to this Grand Prix. I really want our performance in Bahrain to be forgotten. Also it is one of my favourite Grands Prix because of the great atmosphere there. My last race there was in 2002. In 2005 I drove in Friday practice. This means I definitely have some memories of the track, but it will be like learning a new one for me.
“I believe we will be more competitive in Melbourne. Reliability was never an issue in testing, and it was very unlucky that we retired with both cars in Bahrain and with two different reasons as well. Albert Park is a difficult track with many chicanes, stop and go corners and bumps. As it is not a permanent race track it changes significantly over the weekend. This makes it important to read the track properly in order to deal with the grip level. It will not be easy for us in Australia and we need to work hard to be able to fight for points.”
Kamui Kobayashi is looking forward to racing at Albert Park for the first time, and is looking forward to driving in front of the passionate Aussie fans. “For sure I hope we will be more competitive in Melbourne than we were in Bahrain – we just have to be. I only know the track from the Toyota simulator which I have been in after the race in Bahrain. I like the lay-out of the Albert Park Circuit, and I also like Melbourne as a place. I have been there twice as a reserve driver. The city is great and the spectators are true fans, so I can't wait to race in front of that crowd. To me a four week trip begins now and I'm really excited about that. From Melbourne we go to Kuala Lumpur and before the race in Shanghai I go and spend some time in Japan.”
Technical Director Willy Rampf thinks the team have learned from their problems in Bahrain, and expects a better showing in Melbourne. “After our disappointing performance in Bahrain we have to make up for a lot in Australia. We have analysed the data and drawn conclusions accordingly. I expect us to be significantly more competitive in Melbourne. The failures were caused by hydraulic leaks in both cases, but for different reasons. For both problems we will have solutions ready for the race.
“The Albert Park Circuit is a stop-and-go track, being very demanding on the brakes and requiring high brake stability as well. At the same time good traction is a must. You drive with maximum downforce. Especially at the beginning of the weekend, the grip level is very low and then improves continuously. You have to make sure this development doesn't confuse your set-up work and so you have to keep working in the right direction. I'm curious about how the tyres will be working. Last year the softer of the two compounds was degrading badly after just a few laps. This time Bridgestone is providing us with a harder compound, which naturally has an impact on the set-up.”