Bahrain Grand Prix

24th - 26th April 2009 / 4th of 17 World Championship races / Preview

(PresseBox) ( Munich/Hinwil, )
The caravan moves swiftly on: this weekend sees the fourth race in the FIA Formula One World Championship, held in the desert kingdom of Bahrain. It was here in 2008 that Robert Kubica gained the first pole position for the BMW Sauber F1 Team.

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."

Willy Rampf, 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 tyre wear can nevertheless be fairly high on account of the sand. That is an important factor for the race strategy."

History and background:

2009 marks Formula One's sixth appearance in Bahrain. The modern circuit is located south of the capital Manama and belongs to the municipality of Sakhir.

Since gaining independence from Britain in 1971, the Kingdom of Bahrain has been an independent Arab Emirate. The country covers a total of 665 square kilometres spread across 33 islands off the coast of Saudi Arabia. The capital Manama is on the main island (578 square kilometres).

Bahrain has been an oil supplier since 1932 but resources are now dwindling. The processing industry, along with rich natural gas fields and international banking, have gained in economic significance.

Schedule for group interviews at the weekend:

Thursday:

13.30-13.40 - Robert Kubica - TV
13.40-14.00 - Robert Kubica - print media
13.30-13.50 - Nick Heidfeld - print media
13.50-14.00 - Nick Heidfeld - TV
14.00-14.10 - Christian Klien - TV
14.10-14.30 - Christian Klien - print media
15.30-15.35 - Mario Theissen - TV
15.35-16.00 - Mario Theissen - print media
18.00-18.30 - Willy Rampf - by prior arrangement only

Friday:

16.40-16.50 - Robert Kubica - TV
16.40-16.50 - Nick Heidfeld - TV

Saturday:

16.45-17.05 - Robert Kubica - print media
17.05-17.15 - Robert Kubica -TV
16.45-16.55 - Nick Heidfeld - TV
16.55-17.15 - Nick Heidfeld - print media
17.30-17.35 - Mario Theissen - TV
17.35-18.00 - Mario Theissen - print media

Sunday:

After the end of the race Kubica, Heidfeld, Theissen and Rampf will be on hand in the Team area.

Involvement in the FIA press conference means the group interviews will be cancelled on the relevant day.

Media website www.press.bmw-motorsport.com
Team website www.bmw-sauber-f1.com
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