Wednesday, January 21, 2009

BMW introduce the F1.09 and welcome KERS

Tuesday 20th January 2009

BMW unveiled their new F1.09 at Valencia on Tuesday and went against the grain by welcoming the introduction of KERS into Formula One.

The German outfit, who finished third in last year's Championship, are hoping to find themselves in a position to challenge for this year's World title.

Last season Canadian GP winner Robert Kubica was in the running right up until the penultimate round of the Championship, however, the Polish driver eventually finished the season in fourth place.

This year, though, BMW reckon they can fight for the titles. "We have set ourselves the task of further improving our performance relative to the rest of the field," said team boss Mario Theissen.

"The 1-2 in Canada and a total of eleven podium finishes in 2008 set an exacting standard.

"In 2009 we are looking to maintain our first-class reliability record while at the same time enhancing our performance levels so that we can be at the front of the pack on a consistent basis.

"We are aware that we are aiming extremely high. This is the final step in our development, and that's generally the hardest one to take."

As for the new Kinetic Energy Recovery System, KERS, Theissen has welcomed its introduction into F1 despite rival teams expressing their concerns over the device.

"The development of KERS will see Formula One take on a pioneering role for series production technologies going forward," said Theissen.

"F1 will give a baptism of fire to innovative concepts whose service life and reliability have not yet reached the level required for series production vehicles, and their development will be driven forward at full speed.

"At BMW we have always used the Formula One project as a technology laboratory for series production. With KERS this approach takes on a whole new dimension.

"Formula One will reposition itself and undergo a change of image, allowing the sport to take significant strides forward in terms of public acceptance."

Speaking about the development of the new car in the wake of the new regulations, tech director Willy Rampf spoke of his excitement.

"Developing a new Formula One car is always exciting, but this time there was something even more special about it. We really were starting from scratch," he said.

"First and foremost, the switch from grooved tyres to slicks means more grip, of course, but it also moves the balance of forces further forward: removing the grooves gives the front tyres proportionally a greater contact area and more grip than the rear tyres.

"Because the car differs so significantly from its predecessor, we already started work on the first concept studies in February - two months earlier than normal and before the F1.08 had even started its first race.

"Our aim was to build a car with high aerodynamic efficiency and in so doing claw back as much of the downforce as possible, which the new regulations had taken away."

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