9 June 2009 – Mario Theissen has stressed that the BMW team will not be ceasing work on its current car after a tough start to the season. The German manufacturer, which has finished second and third in the last two seasons' constructors' championships, currently lies eighth in the standings but is determined to make up lost ground.
With just 8 points in comparison to leader Brawn's 96, BMW's gradual run of progress since 2006 has come to an abrupt slowdown this year. With the debut of a crucial new part in Istanbul, however, things are beginning to look up. "The race at Istanbul was the first we have contested with our new twin diffuser and the new component proved to be useful," said team principal Theissen. "From his tenth position on the grid, Robert displayed impressive fighting spirit and gave his very best to finish seventh. Meanwhile, Nick lost several positions and a lot of ground right at the start and therefore scoring points was impossible for him."
With 'double-decker' diffusers being officially declared as legal by the FIA after the start of the season, rival teams are striving to reach the levels of innovative design seen on the diffusers used by the likes of Brawn, Toyota and Williams. "For our engineers, the integration of a twin diffuser into the F1.09's design was anything but easy," Dr. Theissen continued. "In particular, the front of the car required numerous modifications; the goal of these measures was to optimise the airflow towards the twin diffuser and the effort paid off - in the second phase of qualifying, which is contested by everybody on a light fuel load, the step forward was particularly noticeable, with Robert and Nick finishing just four tenths of a second behind the quickest."
As Brawn GP currently holds a healthy lead in both championships, the BGP 001 was in fact initially developed in the latter stages of 2007; does BMW believe taking a similar route would be of assistance? "I'm often asked these days if it wouldn't be better to simply stop working on the enhancement of the F1.09 and fully focus on our 2010 challenger instead," Theissen continued. "But this doesn't represent an option for us - we won't give up on the current season, far from it! We have increased our development pace and will bring significant improvements for the car to every second or third race from now on, improvements that will also comprise enhanced versions of the twin diffuser.
"At the end of the season we want to be able to say: 'We encountered a disappointing start to the season but we succeeded in turning things around and making it back to the front end of the field.'"