BMW Sauber: 2008 Belgian GP preview 

Written by David on August 29th, 2008 at 11:41 pmLast Update: August 29th, 2008 at 11:41 pm

BMW SauberWilly Rampf: “Spa is one of the last natural circuits remaining in the calendar and therefore ranks among the classics. Most drivers love it, and for good reason. Eau Rouge is one of the most spectacular corners in Formula One, even though the V8 engines now allow it to be taken flat-out in dry conditions. Spa demands medium downforce, comparable to Montreal. High aerodynamic efficiency is very important as you need a lot of downforce in the fast corners of the middle sector while at the same time requiring plenty of top speed for overtaking at the end of the long straights. A crucial factor will be how to exploit the tyre potential. In Spa we use the two hardest compounds, which is a challenge particularly if air temperatures are low. The weather in Spa is always a big unknown as it can turn from one moment to the next, sometimes even within individual sections of the track.”

Robert Kubica: “From my point of view the race in Spa is one of the best Grands Prix in the calendar. It is a very unique track with high-speed corners you can approach with different racing lines. The most famous corners in Spa-Francorchamps are definitely Eau Rouge and the Bus Stop chicane, which was modified before last year’s race. The circuit is very long and very tricky. You have to find the right balance and the right configuration of the car in order not to lose any lap time. Another crucial factor is the weather in Belgium. It can rain in one sector and it can be dry in another sector. I am really looking forward to the race.”

Nick Heidfeld: “Spa is a fantastic race track with unique corners and a very special character. Although these days with the V8 engines it is no problem taking the Eau Rouge combination in the hollow at full throttle, it remains a standout feature. Compression is absolutely no problem physically, but it’s nevertheless a very special sensation. For the spectators too, I can well recommend this section. It’s very impressive the way the cars come roaring along downhill and then accelerate uphill again. In the current race calendar, Spa is the nearest GP circuit to my home town of Mönchengladbach, and that’s another reason for me to look forward to the Belgian Grand Prix, where I’ll be aiming to achieve a good result.”

Mario Theissen: “Spa-Francorchamps is one of the specialities in the Formula One calendar. We look forward to the only course in the calendar that can still be described as a natural circuit since it follows the features of the landscape. In the Ardennes, steep inclines are as much a feature as the unpredictable weather. Spa may not be the track with the highest speeds – that accolade belongs to Monza – but in Spa we have the longest stretch taken at full throttle. Since the modification of the famous Eau Rouge corner and the introduction of V8 engines, drivers can go flat-out through the section from the hairpin shortly after the start, through the hollow and then uphill again. In last year’s race we calculated that our drivers held the pedal to the floor for more than 1,865 metres, or 24 seconds. Engine power and stability are key requirements here. Nick’s F1.08 is scheduled to take on a new BMW P86/8 engine with a new transmission, while Robert will be driving with the same engine and gear box as in Valencia. In the first two thirds of the season we didn’t have a single retirement caused by any technical fault. We aim to maintain this high level of reliability. On the sporting side, we plan to improve further and see both cars finish solidly in the points at Spa.”

source: BMW Sauber

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