Following Nick Heidfeld’s second-placed finishes in Monaco and at the Nürburgring, BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen is confident that Williams can win the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday.
Following Nick Heidfeld's second-placed finishes in Monaco and at the Nürburgring, BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen is confident that Williams can win the Canadian Grand Prix on Sunday.
"We are hoping to continue our recent successes in Canada," Theissen said on Monday. "In the past, the car has always been suited to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, although the long straights will place extreme demands on the reliability and performance of the BMW P84/5 engine.
"Based on last year's data, we recorded the season’s third highest speed of 343,2 km/h during the race in Montreal – we only topped that at Monza and at Indianapolis.
"The longest flat-out section is 955 metres, and the full-throttle ratio over a complete lap averages 55 per cent. Leaves falling from the trees, however, present a certain risk as they can block the radiator. Other than that, we do not expect any unusual thermal loads. Even in summer weather, the engines should still get sufficient cooling air on the straights," the German added.
BMW, Williams relationship at a low point?
Despite Juan-Pablo Montoya's victory in the 2004 season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, Williams-BMW has not again reached the heights it achieved in the 2001 and 2003 championships. The Grove-based team's principal, Sir Frank Williams, recently admitted the possibility of a split with BMW following speculation by Theissen and former BMW motorsport director Gerhard Berger that the Munich marque might supply Sauber with engines in 2006 or even buy out the Swiss team.
"We (Williams and BMW) have a valid contract for 2006," Sir Frank was quoted as saying. "Anyway, I'm not really worried. There are also other engines available."
Cosworth, Toyota and - most promisingly - Honda, who supplied Williams in the '80s, have been discussed as potential suppliers to Sir Frank, who said of the six-year BMW collaboration: "Our time with Honda and Renault was considerably more successful."
'Montreal feels like home' - Webber
Although most F1 observers expect Heidfeld to maintain his ascendancy over team-mate Mark Webber, the Australian will be keen to get a strong result in this weekend's race after being beaten by the German in Germany and Monte Carlo.
"Montreal reminds me of Melbourne," Webber said. "The track has a street circuit feel to it as there are plenty of walls around it and is very challenging for the driver. The track requires good braking and traction performance, as well as lots of horsepower from the engine for the long straight".
"Although I didn't finish the race there last year, I had a points finish in 2003. I'm looking forward to the race and I hope we can continue the points-scoring run the team is enjoying at the moment," the Australian concluded.