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GP Week : Issue 40
BMW’s unexpected podium BMW Sauber Team Manager Beat Zehnder has told GPWeek of his and the team’s delight at Nick Heidfeld’s unexpected podium in the downpour at Sepang. Heidfeld had suffered a torrid weekend, finishing second practice in last place, but a concerted effort from the team and Heidfeld to understand the performance issues of their F1.09, combined with good strategy calls and a great drive from the German had netted them a superb result in Malaysia. “Of course we are happy; very happy indeed,”he told GPWeek, while sipping a celebratory beer. “I think we did everything right today. “We refuelled Nick to the end actually after his pitstop and gave him extreme wets which was a little bit too early I have to say, but in the end it paid out.” Zehnder confirmed that constantly changing predictions on when the weather would hit had affected the team’s strategy call and caused it to pit slightly too early for the full wet weather tyre. “The problem was today that the rain was delayed every minute. The first notice was 17:30, then it was 17:40, because the rain clouds disappeared above the track and so it was pretty difficult and we’ve seen with other teams that they were a little bit too early with the extreme weather tyres and if it is dry the extreme tyre gives up immediately.” While delighted with BMW Sauber’s first podium of the year, Zehnder remains realistic about the squad’s chances in future races. “Oh, if you look at the Brawns then [we are] quite a bit [off the pace]. Nick had a very heavy car at the beginning and he had to fight with Vettel first and he lost quite a bit of essential time there as Vettel was much lighter. He was fighting for five or six laps and this cost him valuable time. But I think it’s still a long way to go to the top at the moment.” R p p Glock praises pit strategy after crafty podium TIMO Glock says he is delighted at returning to the podium after a chaotic Malaysian Grand Prix. The German was in fine fettle, as the Toyota team chose exactly the right strategy to push him up the order in the hideous conditions that befell the drivers at half race distance. “It is fantastic to be back on the podium and I am really happy for the whole team,”he said. “I struggled a bit behind the guys in front of me in dry conditions but I made the right call on the intermediate tyres: I said let’s just take the risk and go for it. It was a long time before the rain really came down and I 32 was not sure what everyone else was doing. They were struggling on the wets but I was really quick and I made up a lot of positions.” Glock said that the timing of the heavy rain played into his hands perfectly, as it came just as his inters had been wearing out. “When the rain came down I had to go to heavy wets because my tyres were destroyed. I was going well on them and it was unlucky that they declared the results based on the order at the penultimate lap because I could have had second. But I’m still happy with the result.”