Bahrain: Team personnel preview quotes
Martin Whitmarsh, McLaren-Mercedes (Team Principal):
“The points we scored in China were encouraging because they showed that, even without a fully competitive car, we have lost none of our ability to attack over a race weekend and to maximize every opportunity that comes our way. Until our package reaches full competitiveness, that must remain our aim for the Bahrain weekend. Once again, we will introduce a series of upgrades to MP4-24 and remain optimistic that they will once again deliver a further performance improvement. Also, as the home of one of our primary shareholders, it is a particularly special race for everyone within the team and we are made to feel very welcome by our Bahraini hosts.”
Norbert Haug, McLaren-Mercedes (Mercedes-Benz Motorsport Vice President):
“We are looking forward to the second back to back race this season after the first two grands prix within eight days in Melbourne and Sepang. This schedule with four races within five weeks, is a very tough challenge for everybody involved in Formula 1. Our performance in dry conditions looked a step better in Shanghai than at the two races before and our aim is to continue in this direction. Anyway - we cannot expect miracles in Bahrain and everybody in the team is absolutely aware of the fact that we have to work day and night in order to come back to the top of the field.
“We lost already six points in Australia by our own faults and also in Malaysia we should have scored more than one point. In China we achieved for the first time what was achievable, but fifth and sixth places cannot be the target for the team starting with numbers 1 and 2 on their cars. After the first four flyaway races we have to deliver presentable progress in the next four races in Europe. However, it will be very challenging to move into the top three of the team ranking in such a short time.”
Mario Theissen, BMW Sauber-BMW (Team Principal):
“In Bahrain we aim to bring the first major overseas stint to a positive end. It also marks the end of the second set of back-to-back races within five weeks. We look back on the previous Bahrain Grand Prix with satisfaction: in 2008 Robert gained his first ever pole position with the BMW Sauber F1 Team, achieving another milestone. After our appearance in Shanghai we are now heading for another region that is important to BMW. For us as a manufacturer in the premium sector the Middle East is also a very significant market.”
Willy Rampf, BMW Sauber-BMW (Head of Engineering):
“The Bahrain circuit demands a compromise when it comes to aerodynamic set-up. On the one hand the many slow corners require a high level of downforce, while on the other the exceptional breadth of the track encourages the drivers to overtake, which means we can't leave maximum speed out of the equation. With the low-speed corners, traction and brake balance play a major role. Brake wear on this circuit is particularly high, especially in the turn after the start-finish straight and in turn 4. At night the wind regularly sweeps sand onto the track. Generally conditions improve as the day goes on, but tire wear can nevertheless be fairly high on account of the sand. That is an important factor for the race strategy.”
Bob Bell, Renault (Technical Director):
“I think we can be quite confident that we can repeat the sort of performance we showed in China during qualifying as we now have the basic pace in the car. And if we have a dry race, I'm confident that we can bring home the points from the race to match our qualifying performance.”
Pascal Vasselon, Toyota (Senior General Manager Chassis):
“We achieved a huge amount of laps in Bahrain during testing and this was very useful in terms of developing the TF109. It should also be useful for this weekend because we have some experience of set-up and slick tires at this track with the new cars, so we should hit the ground running on Friday. We tested both tire compounds when we were in Bahrain in February and they performed well in representative temperature conditions so we're not expecting any major problems in that area. Otherwise, Bahrain is quite tough on the brakes; we expect it to be harder on them than any other race this season.”
Vijay Mallya, Force India-Mercedes (Team Principal):
“We are planning to introduce a significant aerodynamic upgrade for the Bahrain Grand Prix, including a new floor and an interim diffuser. Amongst other items, we also plan to use new auxiliary wings on the front wing and reprofiled sidepods to incorporate the amended rear end. We have been planning this upgrade since the debut of the VJM02 as part of our scheduled aerodynamic cycle and it will represent a good step forward for the team. Although we nevertheless expect other teams to have moved forward as well, we hope this will keep us racing with the rest of the field.
“As usual, we know points are going to be very difficult to achieve and we should not set this as a goal for Bahrain. Yes, Adrian had a very strong race in China and very nearly achieved our ultimate goal far earlier than anyone could have expected, but we should not look on the Chinese Grand Prix as indicative of our general form. Instead, we need to focus once more on reliability and consistency and look to be there if circumstances allow.”
Ross Brawn, Brawn-Mercedes (Team Principal):
“As the first four Grands Prix take place over just a five-week period, it has been an intense and demanding start to the season for the Brawn GP team. Australia, Malaysia and China produced some fantastic racing and I am very pleased with how the team responded to the challenges that we have faced. This was particularly the case in China last weekend where the team and the drivers did an excellent job. Although we were not able to challenge for the victory in the dramatic and unexpectedly wet conditions, we consolidated our championship position with two strong points-scoring results.
“Looking ahead to the fourth race on the season in Bahrain this weekend, we are expecting a dry weekend which will allow us to really put the BGP 001 through its paces and assess our performance. The track characteristics of the Bahrain International Circuit should suit our car and we do not expect any concerns from the high ambient and track temperatures.”
Hirohide Hamashima, Bridgestone (Director of Motorsport Tire Development):
“Bahrain is a technically interesting circuit. The layout means a lot of braking and a lot of accelerating out of low speed corners. Maximizing traction out of the corners is the key to a good lap time, but if a car has less than ideal traction, additional unwanted heat can be created, and this will make matters more difficult for competitors. There is a lot of heavy braking here too, and it will be interesting to see how the different braking characteristics between the KERS and non-KERS cars affects lap times, and also the racing.
“Tire management and minimizing unnecessary tire heat in what could be very hot conditions are very important considerations here. We have the medium and super soft tires and we expect the medium tire to be very durable. The super soft should present more of a challenge in terms of durability than the medium, however the data from the Bahrain pre-season tests show that this tire can be managed well on this track if the correct set-up is found.”