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  #1  
Old 06-29-2004, 08:48 PM
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From the BMW Motorsport newsletter...

28.06.2004
Second half of the season kicks off at Magny-Cours
The BMW WilliamsF1 Team is confidently approaching the second half of the 2004 Formula One season, which will get underway at Magny-Cours this weekend.

The forthcoming French Grand Prix, to be held next weekend, marks the beginning of the second half of the 2004 Formula One season. In recent years the 'Circuit de Nevers' has always been good to the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, especially in 2003, when Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya scored an impressive one-two in addition to dominating the front row on the grid, with Ralf on pole, and the fastest lap (Juan Pablo).

Overall, WilliamsF1 has scored eight victories on French soil, ten pole positions - three of which have been achieved over the past three years - and nine fastest laps. BMW won the French Grand Prix in 1985 with Nelson Piquet, but at that time the race was still held at Le Castellet and not at Magny-Cours.

As part of its preparations for this weekend’s race, when it hopes to add to this impressive tally, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team spent three days at Jerez de la Frontera, Spain, three days last week, where various Michelin tyre compounds, set-up options and new traction control elements were tested.

The 'Circuit de Nevers', located in the heart of France, requires proper car balance, good aerodynamics for the fast corners and traction for the slower parts of the track. Furthermore the cars should be prepared for the fast chicanes and the subsequent changes of direction at very high speeds.

The circuit itself consists of various sections based on aspects from other race tracks around the world, as it was originally built for testing purposes. The Adelaide hairpin and the Nürburgring chicane are fine examples of the nature of Magny-Cours. Smooth tarmac is another feature of the French Grand Prix, leading to the softer range of tyre compounds being used.
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  #2  
Old 06-29-2004, 08:49 PM
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GimpyMcFarlan GimpyMcFarlan is offline
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From the BMW Motorsport newsletter...

29.06.2004
"It is important to always look ahead," says Montoya
BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver Juan Pablo Montoya is approaching the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours on Sunday in a confident and combative mood.

The BMW WilliamsF1 Team is hoping to score a positive result at Magny-Cours, using two demonstrably upgraded WilliamsF1 BMW FW26 cars. Juan Pablo is confident of scoring another good result there after finishing second last year.

"It is important to always look ahead in this business," he says. "The French Grand Prix marks the start of the second half of the Championship but there are still plenty of points to collect. In 2003, Ralf and I qualified first and second respectively at Magny-Cours, and we crossed the line in first and second. This might be difficult to achieve again this year, but we know we usually perform well at this track."

He continues, "We are also taking some new parts out to France which should make the car more competitive. We must now return to form and make up for the points we've lost as a result of factors unrelated to our track performance."

At the same time Juan Pablo is still a little annoyed about being disqualified at Indianapolis, having hoped to provide a better outcome for his Colombian fans. "I think the US Grand Prix is cursed for me. Last year in Indy I lost any chance of winning the Drivers' Championship and this year... well, you know! It was disappointing not to have scored any points at Indy, as we really needed them," he adds.

However, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver has no intention of giving up, "We are now facing another two back-to-back races and I am confident we can finally get it right at Magny-Cours and at Silverstone."
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Old 06-29-2004, 08:50 PM
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From the BMW Motorsport newsletter...

29.06.2004
No decision on Ralf's participation in French GP
Within the next few days, Ralf Schumacher and the BMW WilliamsF1 Team will announce whether he will participate in this Sunday's French Grand Prix.

It has not yet been decided whether Ralf Schumacher will be able to participate in the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours on Sunday after suffering slight injuries in his severe accident during the race at Indianapolis nine days ago. The BMW WilliamsF1 Team driver is currently resting at home in Austria.

A final decision as to whether he will take part in this weekend's Grand Prix will be made over the course of the next few days, following a number of checks that have to be made.

"I can not, at this stage, make a decision as to whether I will take part in this weekend's race in Magny-Cours. I am taking full advantage of the two week break between Indy and France to rest and recuperate from the accident," last year's Magny-Cours winner said.
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Old 06-29-2004, 08:51 PM
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And at the half...

From the BMW Motorsport newsletter...

27.06.2004
It's halftime in Formula One
After nine Grands Prix, Formula One has reached the halfway mark of the 2004 season. We take a look back through the eyes of the BMW WilliamsF1 Team.

Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya started the season highly motivated. However, at the season opener in Australia it became obvious that the competition hadn’t been sleeping during the winter break. Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) won the opening round while Ralf came home in fourth position, his team-mate Juan Pablo crossed the line in fifth. The BMW P84 engine stood up well on its race debut under the single-engine rule, surviving the whole weekend without problems.

In Malaysia, Juan Pablo took the BMW WilliamsF1 Team’s first podium finish of the season, crossing the line close behind race winner, Michael Schumacher. Ralf wasn’t so lucky and was forced to retire with engine problems on the 28th lap at the “Sepang International Circuit”.

At the beginning of April, Formula One celebrated its first race in Bahrain, although both BMW WilliamsF1 Team drivers failed to see the chequered flag. Ralf was forced to retire while running in seventh position following a collision with Takuma Sato (B.A.R. Honda). Juan Pablo, running in third at the time, suffered a gearbox problem and fell back down the field to finish the race in 13th position.

At the San Marino Grand Prix, Juan Pablo was once again on the attack and after an exciting battle with Michael Schumacher in the Tosa Corner, the 28-year-old finished in third position. Ralf had to make to with seventh place after a tangle with the Renault of Fernando Alonso.

The "Circuit de Catalunya" near Barcelona, Spain, saw Ralf finishing in sixth position after a solid race performance. Juan Pablo retired on lap 47 with brake problems.

At Formula One’s blue riband event in Monaco, it was Ralf who suffered problems. Following an engine change, he was forced to start ten positions down from the second place he’d achieved in qualifying. In the race itself, gearbox problems meant that the Grand Prix was over for the German on the 73rd lap. Juan Pablo and Michael Schumacher had a moment during a safety car period, when they touched in the tunnel; fortunately Juan Pablo was able to finish the race in fourth position.

The European Grand Prix didn’t run as planned for the BMW WilliamsF1 Team as Ralf and Juan Pablo tangled at the first corner. The German retired instantly, while Juan Pablo was able to make it back to the pits. He rejoined the race in last position and subsequently made it back up to eighth position by the time the flag fell.

Over the course of the two North American races, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team displayed a marked rise in its performance. At the Canadian Grand Prix, both drivers were competitive, with Ralf crossing the finishing line just behind his older brother Michael to take second position. Later, however, he and his team-mate, Juan Pablo, were disqualified due to discrepancies with the FW26s' brake ducts.

At Indianapolis, the FW26 delivered another promising performance, until lady luck deserted the BMW WilliamsF1 Team once more. Ralf lost control of his car on the tenth lap after suffering a blown tyre. Despite hitting the outside wall at high speed, other than bruises, Ralf was lucky to be unharmed. Juan Pablo had an excellent race and was running as high as second, until he was black-flagged on lap 57 for switching too late to the spare car before the start of the formation lap.

With 36 points, the BMW WilliamsF1 Team is currently lying in fourth position in the Constructors' Championship. For the second half of the season Sam Michael, WilliamsF1's Technical Director, is looking towards a significant improvement in performance. "It is a matter of getting back up and fighting back. That is what we are all about," said the Australian.
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