Bmw Sauber Faces Weather Challenge

By: Anthony Fontanelle

BMW Sauber has so far fended off the challenge of defending world champion Renault. But these two Formula One teams are not fighting for the top spot, in fact, the two teams are battling for third place and BMW currently occupies that spot.

Renault though has shown resurgence prior to the French and British Grands Prix. BMW Sauber's duo of Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld though managed to upstage Renault's duo of Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen at the said two races. Thus going into the European Grand Prix, BMW Sauber sits comfortably in third place.

Although in third, BMW is far from catching frontrunners McLaren Mercedes and Scuderia Ferrari. The two teams have the monopoly on wins this season. McLaren has four wins - two from Fernando Alonso and two from Lewis Hamilton. Ferrari, on the other hand, has five wins; Kimi Raikkonen has three while Felipe Massa has two. In comparison, BMW Sauber only has a single podium finish this season courtesy of Heidfeld at the Canadian Grand Prix.

On Friday, Heidfeld and Kubica participated in the free practice session which has gone well for both drivers. The only problem that they have is the weather. Due to rain showers, the team has to anticipate when to change tires.

During the practice sessions, BMW Sauber had a taste of what Sunday would be like if it rains. Kubica said that they had a good run but the weather was something else. "The day was quite okay but the weather was so so," said the Polish Formula One driver in an interview after the practice sessions.

"The track was a bit wet for the first half an hour of the afternoon session, but then it dried. We did tire evaluation in the morning and then in the afternoon worked on the set-up, mainly doing research to get the right balance of the car as it is a big change from the last two races," Kubica continued.

Heidfeld is currently fifth in the drivers' championship standings and is now looking for a good performance to give their team a better chance of catching up to McLaren and Ferrari. The German Formula One driver is in agreement with Kubica in saying that they had a good day of driving.

"Our Friday went well, even better than expected before the weekend," pointed out the 30-year old Heidfeld. The German also bemoans the effect of the weather on their chances to a good race. "In the first session especially we were strong. In the second session the balance of my car wasn't as good, although we didn't change a lot. It was down to the track conditions - the rain had washed the rubber away and the wind had changed direction."

The German though is still upbeat with their performance on both practice runs. "But as usual the second practice session never really demonstrates our true performance. I think we have a good basis to work from," concluded Heidfeld.

Meanwhile, in other BMW news, the name is now being used for exactly 90 years (July 21, 2007). It was in 1917 that the name BMW was first used by the Bavarian automaker. On July 23, 1917, the automaker issued a letter informing everyone that a new force in the auto industry has emerged. The letter said: "May we respectfully inform you that, with effect from this day, we have changed our company name to Bayerische Motoren Werke."

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