2009 BAHRAIN PREVIEWS

BMW


Robert Kubica:
"I am looking forward to going to Bahrain. Overall I really like the track, although it is not really challenging. The Bahrain International Circuit has a couple of long straights and three characteristically low-speed corners that require heavy braking. Wind can play an important role in Sakhir as it influences the balance of the car.


"Also, the wind blows sand onto parts of the track, which leads to changing grip conditions. Luckily we had the chance to test the F1.09 car in Bahrain in February, although weather conditions were unstable and windy then. Last year we performed quite well in Bahrain - after securing pole position in qualifying I managed to finish the race on the podium."

Nick Heidfeld:
"I enjoy driving in Bahrain. I like the modern complex and the circuit. The section from the fifth to the penultimate corner is particularly well designed. This time I'll be again arriving quite early to allow time for my fitness training. It will be interesting to see what the weather brings. Usually the climate in Bahrain has been very pleasant, but we've also had incredible heat, and during winter testing there was a huge sandstorm. In 2008 there was a concert by Akon after the race, which I also remember well."


Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director:
"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.


TOYOTA


Jarno Trulli:
"I am looking forward to racing in Bahrain after the tests we had there over the winter. Bahrain was the first chance I had to really test the TF109 in dry conditions and I knew immediately we had a competitive package, which has proved to be the case now the season has started.


"In testing the car was strong in Bahrain so I have a good feeling for this weekend and I think we can be competitive. Weather and track conditions change from winter testing to the race weekend but it should still help us a bit to have set-up information from the new car at this track, and we have quite a bit of experience now with these two compounds of tyre. I will push as hard as I can, as always, and I know everyone in the team is really motivated so I hope for a smooth and successful weekend."

Timo Glock:
"The Bahrain Grand Prix is good fun and the track is unique. For car set-up you have to compromise between straightline speed and grip in the slower corners, which is quite a tricky balance to achieve. One issue we face particularly in Bahrain is the wind, which comes in across the desert and can change direction from lap to lap.


"This can make the car a bit unstable if it blows in the wrong direction but we know what to expect so we can be prepared. Last year I was pretty unlucky in Bahrain because I had to back off with a small technical issue when I was sure I would score my first points for the team. But this season has started in a much better way compared to 2008 and I am confident I can continue to show that good performance."

Pascal Vasselon, 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 tyres at this track with the new cars, so we should hit the ground running on Friday.


"We tested both tyre 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."

WILLIAMS


Nico Rosberg:
"Once again it didn't go our way in China. My major problem was a real lack of visibility as the water just wasn't clearing off my visor. We also made some calls that didn't work out well. It's nice that we now have another race straightaway that we can look forward to doing better at.


"Bahrain is one of my favourite tracks. Last year the car went well there and we won't have any issues with warming up the tyres. Downforce level is always really important there for the corners, but then there's a compromise required so you can fight the other cars on the fast straights. We're confident going to Bahrain that we can finally get a good result.

"It might not be the most interesting place we go to, but I've always had good experiences there. I first raced at Bahrain in 2004 in F3, then won the GP2 Championship there in 2005. In my first race for Williams, I started in 12th but took the nose off on the first corner. After I pitted for a new nose, I had a good race and in the end I made my way up to 7th which meant two points. I also got the fastest lap of the race. As I've always had good races there, I really enjoy going to Bahrain."

Kazuki Nakajima:
"Shanghai was difficult. The water on the track just caused you to aquaplane, particularly at the exit of the last corner, and I went off a couple of times before I finally retired with a transmission problem. We had a good de-brief afterwards and hopefully we can keep up the pace we have and translate that into something good this weekend.


"I didn't have a great weekend in Bahrain last year and found it difficult to get used to the track. I'm more positive going there this year so hopefully it will be a different story. It's a stop and go track where you need straight line speed, good breaks and traction to do well. Corners 9 and 10 are a bit tricky, you have to really use your breaks and there's a lot of lateral loading.

"Bahrain isn't a particularly interesting place to visit! There's not much to do or see so I think I'll be staying in my hotel a lot!

McLAREN


Lewis Hamilton:
"I'm looking forward to Bahrain. It's a circuit I enjoy and I think it should be good for us - the nature of the circuit, the long straights and the heavy braking zones mean it is a theoretically strong place for KERS. In fact, it's got the highest brake-wear of the season so far, so it will be interesting to see how well KERS can be exploited around the lap.


"Most importantly, we seem to have a solid direction within the team – all our upgrades invariably bring a laptime improvement and our direction on set-up and strategy shows what a strong group we still are. I still think we are several races away from being truly competitive but a straightforward race at Bahrain would give us a very good opportunity to accurately assess where we sit among our rivals."

Heikki Kovalainen:
"There's a real mix of corners at the Bahrain circuit and the long straights followed by tighter corners mean it's a good place for overtaking. It's quite tricky to find the right set-up, it's a medium downforce circuit so that always brings a compromise.


"And the changing wind conditions, the winds here can be quite strong, also make it harder to get the car working over the whole weekend. Still, it's a circuit you have to attack to get a good time – I really enjoy the high-speed esses and uphill sweeps around the back of the circuit. I'm looking forward to another strong weekend and the opportunity to put some more points on the board."

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal Vodafone McLaren Mercedes:
"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."

BRIDGESTONE


Hirohide Hamashima - Bridgestone Director of Motorsport Tyre Development

What are the challenges of Bahrain?

"Bahrain is a technically interesting circuit. The layout means a lot of braking and a lot of accelerating out of low speed corners. Maximising 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."

How much of a challenge should the tyre allocation be in Bahrain?

"Tyre management and minimising unnecessary tyre heat in what could be very hot conditions are very important considerations here. We have the medium and super soft tyres and we expect the medium tyre 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 tyre can be managed well on this track if the correct set-up is found."