BMW-Sauber hope to get back among the Formula One frontrunners in Turkey next week by using for the first time a new rear diffuser similar to one used by championship leaders Brawn GP. The Swiss-based team had hoped to be fighting for the title this season, but after six races Poland's Robert Kubica has scored no points and Germany's Nick Heidfeld only a meagre six. While Brawn have scored 86 points, with Britain's Jenson Button winning five of the six races, BMW-Sauber are eighth overall.
In Monaco last weekend, Kubica retired while Heidfeld finished 11th. "Ahead of the Turkish Grand Prix our results are quite sobering," said team principal Mario Theissen as he looked forward to the Istanbul race. "Nobody in the team expected the season to pan out as it has so far. After taking a forward step in Spain, we were clearly off the pace in Monaco. To regain our competitiveness we will have to ramp up our development speed significantly. In Istanbul we will have the next step of our development ready and will be using a multi-stage diffuser for the first time."
The so-called double-deck diffuser used to telling effect by Brawn, Toyota and Williams caused a controversy at the start of the season, with BMW one of the teams seeking to have it outlawed. Since that failed, they and others have had to hurriedly re-design their own cars. Theissen recognised BMW had been wrong-footed by the radical new regulations for this season, but he said they would come back.
"After three successful years, this phase is our first setback," he said. "We can deal with it. We are all determined to get ourselves back among the front-runners." * Reuters