BMW scraps Friday driver strategy

Fri, 4 May 2007, 01:38

BMW Sauber has apparently caved to the pressure of its race drivers by scrapping the unpopular policy of sitting one of them out during Friday morning practice at grands prix this year.

The Swiss based outfit’s team principal Mario Theissen confirmed that teenaged tester Sebastian Vettel will not take to the cockpit of either Robert Kubica or Nick Heidfeld’s cars at the Spanish GP next weekend.

“Until further notice, the two race drivers will be on track for the whole of Friday,” the German said, having earlier revealed that BMW would “look closely” at the strategy following Heidfeld’s struggle to perfect his setup with limited practice time.

Germany’s Bild newspaper proclaimed the decision as a victory for Heidfeld, who has been openly vocal about disagreeing with a plan that put BMW’s race drivers at a disadvantage compared with its rivals.

The tabloid publication headlined that Theissen’s back-flip is a “triumph” for 29-year-old Nick, who has yet to secure a contract for 2008, “in the struggle for power”.

In a media preview about the Barcelona race next weekend, meanwhile, BMW-Sauber said it wanted to remain clearly the third quickest team in formula one as the European season develops in 2007.

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