BMW Sauber are first to give their 2006 challenger a ‘proper’ launch in something close to the spec in which it will run in Bahrain. Team boss Mario Theissen was quick to dispel talk of immediate Grand Prix wins: “In our first season we will mainly be gathering experience… it requires patience and endurance.” They will continue to base the ex-Sauber chassis operation in Hinwii, Switzerland and the BMW engine construction in Munich Germany – a bifurcation that Renault have proved does not necessarily impede performance.
The newly-liveried car turns from Sauber to BMW colours but keeps sponsor Petronas, adding two major blue-chip sponsors in electronics giant Intel and telecommunications firm O2. Conspiracy theorists will note that the roll-over hoop only bears the name of Nick Heidfeld and not team mate Jacques Villeneuve, whom BMW kept waiting some time before confirming his drive.
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