AUGUST 23, 1999
Schumacher II to test BMW engine shortly
RALF SCHUMACHER is expected to begin testing with the latest version of the BMW V10 Formula 1 engine within the next six weeks. According to our sources the latest engine - the third which BMW has produced - is now ready to be tested and the plan is to fit it into a modified 1999 car and run at BMW's private test track at Miramas before the Formula 1 circus heads off to the Far East for the Malaysian and Japanese Grands Prix. In all probability this will be after the European Grand Prix on September 26.
As there is a testing ban throughout the month of December the testing will be important as it will enable Williams and BMW to gather data before the testing ban comes into effect. To date all BMW testing has been carried out by Jorg Muller but the use of Schumacher will give BMW an idea of where they are in terms of development in comparison to other current F1 engines. The engine which Schumacher will use will form the basis of the engine which will be raced in 2000 although there will be constant development throughout the season, as is the case with all the major F1 engine programs at the moment.
In an effort to keep down expectations, BMW Motorsport boss Gerhard Berger has been saying that he thinks there is no chance that BMW will win a race in its first year back in F1. While this may be a realistic assessment there are still some in Munich who think that the company can surprise the F1 community.
The latest engine is believed to have had considerable input from ex-Cosworth engineer Alan Cowell, who joined the BMW engine design team in June. Cowell was one of the key designers of the Ford CR-1 engine which has shown well so far this year with the Stewart team.
It is ironic that the expected BMW-Jaguar clash in Formula 1 next year will be fought out with engines which will both have had a large amount of design input from the same engineer...
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