BMW ‘must improve’ on tyre management after difficult season opener

BMW Motorsport Director Jens Marquardt says that the marque ‘must improve’ its package by the Laustizring in two weeks’ time, after its drivers could finish no higher than sixth at Spa-Francorchamps.

In both Saturday and Sunday’s races, South African Sheldon van der Linde – the youngest BMW driver at 21 – scored the manufacturer’s best results, taking the chequered flag in sixth each day.

BMW was comprehensively out-classed by Audi in Belgium, and van der Linde was also the brand’s best driver in qualifying when he was fourth on Sunday morning, 0.788 seconds off the pace.

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Despite showing promise in qualifying, the BMW drivers then struggled for pace compared to their Audi rivals in the race, dropping away and allowing the Ingolstadt marque to record two 1-2-3-4-5 results at the weekend.

“As expected, it was tough for us again today here at Spa,” said Marquardt. “Qualifying was a little better, and with Sheldon van der Linde we had a driver on one of the first two rows.

“The picture was a better one further down the grid too.

“In the race, we lost too much time in the first stint. We were simply unable to make up that ground in the second stint, even with a different strategy like the one we saw from Marco Wittmann, who came in a bit later for his tyre change.”

Marquardt is not expecting a continuation of the tyre issues which hampered BMW when the series visits the Lausitzring for the next two back-to-back events, beginning in two weeks’ time.

“We struggled with tyre management again today. That is something we need to work on. The reliability and top speed were there, but the pace was not there in the first stint – particularly in sectors two and three. We have to analyse that.

“We must improve our package by the Lausitzring, although the tyres will not play such a major role there as they have done here at Spa.

“Congratulations to René Rast and Nico Müller. They were in a league of their own.

“We must ensure that we improve and are up there at the front of the field soon.”

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