BMW developing Brawn-like diffuser
6 April 2009 – Mario Theissen has expressed his satisfaction with the performance shown by the BMW team in last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix. Althuogh Robert Kubica retired on the first lap with no drive due to a pheumatic leak, Nick Heidfeld made the most of a one-stop strategy to pit at precisely the right time before taking second place as the race was red flagged. Theissen also gave his reasons for BMW's protesting of three teams, and explained how the team is developing its own solution.
"We sent Nick into the race with plenty of fuel, due to his grid position and anticipation of the weather conditions," team principal Dr. Theissen explained. "It was risky, but it paid off - the calculations were exactly right." With no need to pit for fuel, the experienced German stayed out on track until pitting for wet tyres at the moment of the torrential downpour, finding himself in second position at the end of lap 31, which is where the final classification of the race was decided from having been stopped with 32 laps completed - this is standard proceedure in Formula 1, as the results of a stopped race are always determined by the order from the lap before the stoppage. "Hats off!" Theissen continued. "Nick kept a cool head in extremely difficult conditions and produced the ideal result. My compliments go to him and, of course, to the entire team, who worked flawlessly."
The German admitted that the team is currently developing a so-called 'double diffuser' of their own, in the event of the devices being declared legal by the governing body. "The FIA must take urgent action to clarify the situation, and to rule out different interpretations of the regulations" Theissen continued. "This kind of thing is not good for the sport; sport is only interesting if everyone plays to the same rules. The diffuser issue is the equivalent of a 100m race, in which some runners start 10m in front of the rest of the field - the result would be meaningless.
"With this in mind, we lodged a protest after qualifying in Malaysia. It is purely a formal matter, and is intended to ensure that the result in Malaysia is also taken into consideration in the judge's decision in the appeal proceedings next week.
"We have, of course, been forced to start developing a similar solution. The teams without the so-called double diffuser must retrofit their cars in order to be competitive, and this cannot be done in one fell swoop. The trio already racing with the part will also continue to develop, and we must assume that there is still potential for plenty of improvements in this sensitive area."