BMW Sauber: 2009 Singapore Grand Prix preview 

Written by Nick on September 18th, 2009 at 11:32 amLast Update: September 18th, 2009 at 11:32 am

Mario Theissen: “The first night race in the history of Formula One last year was a fascinating event and generated spectacular images and an electric atmosphere. Indeed, from an atmosphere point of view, I would say the Singapore Grand Prix is the highlight of the season. The whole feeling around the GP is unparalleled. Last year the tactic of not adjusting to local time but instead keeping our body clocks running to German time paid off. So we’ll do the same thing again this time around. We are looking forward to the whole show and are aiming to go on the attack with our significantly revised car. The cause of our engine problems in qualifying at Monza was a quality issue with the valve gear, and this means we can’t use either of the engines again. Both drivers ran their engines from Spa in Sunday’s race at Monza, which leaves them with one more new engine each and several used ones for the remainder of the season. The key question will now be whether these will be enough. If not, we will be forced to use a ninth engine and take a ten-place grid penalty as a result.”

Robert Kubica: “I am very much looking forward to the Singapore Grand Prix. Everybody knows I am a big fan of street circuits. The track is very challenging; especially the last sector is very twisty with a lot of corners. As the circuit is not a permanent track, the grip level is very poor at the beginning of the weekend but improves from day to day. Drivers and engineers have to anticipate how the track’s grip level evolves set-up-wise and balance-wise. The team will bring quite a big update to Singapore. I hope our car will be more competitive and that we are able to surprise the competition with our pace. Last year the surface was very bumpy, maybe a little too bumpy at some places. Before the initial night session, there were lots of concerns among us drivers regarding visibility which did not prove right. Actually I was very surprised how well the light situation was managed.”

Willy Rampf: “Singapore was a highlight in the truest sense of the word in 2008. It was the first ever Formula One night race and turned out to be an undeniably special event. The circuit has an unusually high corner count, so the drivers have no time to relax. Added to which, it was extremely bumpy in places. The organisers have taken this criticism seriously and partially resurfaced the track. The predominantly slow corners place severe demands, particularly on the cars’ traction. Following the last major update in Valencia, we will arrive in Singapore with another farreaching development package. From an aerodynamics point of view, this comprises a new front wing, more deeply undercut sidepods, a further developed double diffuser and a modified rear wing. Added to which, the car also has a totally new gearbox. So, all in all, we are expecting to take another step forward here.”

Nick Heidfeld: “I’ve been looking forward to the race in Singapore for many weeks because I know we have some modifications ready for the weekend. Our simulation work has been very promising and the car will look great. As I found out last year, it’s practically impossible to overtake in Singapore. After a penalty I had to start from ninth on the grid rather than sixth and, although I had the speed, sixth at the finish was the best I could hope for. Grid position is equally as critical in Singapore as it is in Monaco. Last year the special nature of this GP and the atmosphere around it made the race weekend very much the highlight of the season for me. It was something new and genuinely exciting for everybody. And it was great to see the TV pictures and photos afterwards as well; the artificial light changed everything. It wasn’t difficult for me to keep in tune with European time so that I would be in good shape for qualifying and the race ‘ actually it was quite fun. It’s a bit weird to find the whole team still out and about up to three in the morning to keep their body clocks ticking over, but also very entertaining.”

source: BMW Sauber

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