Q&A with Willy Rampf

BMW's tech director Willy Rampf shares his thoughts on the team's 2008 car and their first victory, which they achieved at the Canadian GP.

Q: How would you assess the BMW Sauber F1.08?
This car was something very special. It was not purely a further development; we opted for a very aggressive approach for the F1.08. This was very important given the goals for the season we had set ourselves, but clearly not without risk. Indeed, at the roll-out the car was still far from its full potential. What followed was a very tough, but also incredibly productive time for us – and by the start of the season we had the car very much on track. In Melbourne Robert was only a hair's breadth away from taking pole position."

Q: What was your reaction to the one-two finish in Canada?
You just can't put it into words. When no other car and no other drivers are better than your two, you have reached your goal. And that applies not only to me, but to the whole team. You mustn't forget that many of the people in the team gave everything over a number of years for the independent Sauber team – without any prospect of getting right to the top on their own merits – and have been part of the BMW Sauber F1 Team from its launch. The one-two in Montreal had a big impact on us all, and not only on the Sunday – it had a sustained effect."

Q: Was it not possible to build on this success and step up another gear over the remainder of the season?
Of course, this success raised expectations both within the team and from the outside. We developed several new parts which produced good results in the wind tunnel. When it came to their performance on the track, however, they did not deliver what they promised. Added to which, the optimum set-up window of the F1.08 was very small. It was not easy to adjust the individual parameters to stay within this window all the time. This was a learning experience, which we will utilize again for the 2009 season."

Q: As for 2009: how will technical responsibility be apportioned?
: I have responsibility for the F1.09 concept and, as Technical Coordinator, will also be at the helm for the team's race activities in 2009. The development process and construction of the new car is overseen by Managing Director Walter Riedl, who will continue to head up operations at the Hinwil plant and project management across both locations in 2009. It was important for me to cut down on my workload – this was a personal decision following a long time working flat-out." Source: BMW

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