BMW pleased with copied Ferrari wheels

Tue, 22 January 2008, 12:23

BMW-Sauber technical director Willy Rampf has estimated the benefit of the 2008 car’s Ferrari-style wheel covers at up to two tenths per lap.

“The covers optimise the brake ventilation,” the German told Bild newspaper, “and reduce air resistance.”

The German team, however, rejects suggestions that copying its rival’s innovation amounts to a new case of formula one espionage.

Toyota and Renault have also used variants of the carbon-fibre covers, which first appeared on the rear of the Ferrari in late 2006.

“There is a fundamental difference between motor sports and other technical industries,” BMW boss Mario Theissen explained.

“(In motor sports) there are no patents, so you cannot protect your own ideas once they come out of the factory and can be seen on the track.

“So applying ideas that are visible on the other cars is absolutely normal,” he added. “You get ideas from your competitors, and vice versa,” he added.

This ‘legal’ espionage has resulted in the phenomenon at recent group tests of high two-metre temporary barriers being placed at the entrance to team garages.

The practice is not allowed at grands prix.

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