You are Mario Theissen, spearheading BMW’s 2007 F1 campaign with established talent Nick Heidfeld and exciting young star Robert Kubica.
You know that this year, on the Fridays before Grands Prix, you won’t be able to run three cars like you did in 2006 – the new rules state you can only use two.
So who do you put in the car?
Logically it’s a no-brainer, surely. You stick your two F1 racers in and give them as much time to practice as possible.
But Theissen plans to give one of the two slots to their test driver Sebastian Vettel (interestingly, no suggestion has been made that fourth driver Timo Glock, who has F1 race experience, could be tried.)
Theissen claimed, It is part of the team building process to have at least one of the test drivers driving on a Friday as well.”
Fresh from the Formula Three Euroseries, Vettel took over Kubica’s place as third driver when the Pole was promoted to the race team in place of Jacques Villeneuve. The German immediately emulated Kubica’s Friday feats – at his very first Grand Prix appearance in Turkey he was fastest of all on Friday.
But if anyone has cause to fear Vettel’s presence it is more likely to be compatriot Heidfeld than Kubica. Heidfeld admitted that he has been forced to drive quicker since Kubica joined the race team – which can only lead to questions about why he wasn’t driving that fast in the first place.
Nonetheless Heidfeld and Kubica are united in their criticism of Theissen’s policy. Heidfeld said, “I don’t like it. If it was my decision I would drive all Fridays [and] Robert as well.”
Kubica response was pragmatic: “It depends what other drivers are doing. If the other top teams are using regular drivers then we should use regular drivers, but that is how it is. We will have to live with it.”
Live with it Kubica will. But can Heidfeld?