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Posts Tagged ‘Robert Kubica’

Robert Kubica in BMW F1.09 at Valencia

BMW Sauber became the sixth Formula 1 team to unveil their 2009 challenger on Tuesday. The F1.09, the fourth car BMW have built since their 2006 takeover of Sauber, was launched at the Valencia track in Spain with drivers Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Christian Klien present, and Kubica taking the car for it’s first few runs.

BMW head into 2009 aiming to become serious championship contenders, having dropped off the pace after a strong start to 2008 that saw them claim their first race win. Kubica, the main challenger for BMW in ’08, said at the launch: “Last year we saw that working together we can achieve good result. For the first half of the season, we were title contenders. We were leading the Drivers’ and Constructors’ Championships at certain points of the season. Everyone remembers how it finished, and we will try to repeat the first half of the season and finish better than last year.” Team boss Mario Theissen displayed lots of confidence in a press conference following the launch, saying that BMW, in a similar fashion to Toyota, have always had a four year plan in F1: “We set out a plan aiming at the first points in 2006, the first podium in 2007, to win in 2008, and we then stated that we want to fight for the championship from this year onwards. So far all targets have been met, so there is no reason to abandon the final and most important target. We want to fight for the title with the big two other teams and whoever else is up there.”

BMW plan to remain testing the new car in Valencia until Saturday.

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Robert Kubica set the fastest time on a drying Fuji speedway in the final practice session ahead of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix. It stopped raining at the start of the session but most of the action came in the dying minutes when Timo Glock continued his pace from the previous session on Friday, and took second behind the Pole.

Nelson Piquet Jr landed third position, a full 0.4 seconds faster than teammate, Fernando Alonso, who finished ninth. NIck Heidfeld continued BMW’s speed in the conditions, taking fourth, and local favourite, Kazuki Nakajima, improved even more in his Williams and took fifth. David Coulthard climbed out of the back two positions he had been in during Friday and set the sixth fastest time, just 0.1 seconds faster than his teammate, Mark Webber, in eighth, and Felipe Massa sat in seventh, with Lewis Hamilton splitting the Toro Rossos in eleventh. Jarno Trulli could only manage thirteenth ahead of Nico Rosberg, Heikki Kovalainen, Kimi Raikkonen, Rubens Barrichello, Jenson Button, Adrian Sutil and Giancarlo Fisichella.

Rain was initially predicted for Qualifying, but is now looking unlikely, so will the battle be with the front runners and, if not, who will spring a surprise?

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BMW Sauber have confirmed that both race drivers, Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, will stay at the German team in 2009. The announcement ends speculation that Singapore Grand Prix winner, Fernando Alonso, will leave Renault for BMW for next year. Third driver, Christian Klien, will also remain at the team.

The German outfit has had a very strong year, with the team still mathematically able to win both championships. Kubica led home a 1-2 finish at this years Canadian Grand Prix, which remains the highlight of BMW’s 2008 season. This means rumours that Alonso might move to the team for 2009 have come to an end, leaving him with only two options of either going to Honda or staying at Renault.

Heidfeld has a long history with the team, having started his F1 career at Sauber, before joining BMW in 2006 after their taking over of the Swiss-based constructor. Kubica also started his F1 career at BMW in 2006 following the departure of former world champion, Jacques Villeneuve.

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