Heidfeld brings Formula One to BMW Plant in Munich
Fast work at the factory.
Theissen: "Support from within the company really helps us."
The assembly lines came to a standstill and the workforce gathered in anticipation in front of the production halls. Outside, Nick Heidfeld roared his way around BMW's Munich plant in his Formula One car. The BMW Sauber F1 Team put on Wednesday's spectacular driving demonstration to thank the employees at the plant for their support in its Formula One campaign. "It was long overdue and a really great event," said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. "A lot of people have had their fingers crossed for us and been with us all the way during the development phase of the new team, so they should also share in our recent success." Heidfeld, lying second in the F1 drivers' standings after three races of the season, added: "It is nice to give the workforce something back."Heidfeld was not the only driver performing "donuts", which eventually cost a front wing, watched by over 5000 employees four days ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Touring car driver Jörg Müller was also out and about at the plant with his BMW 320si WTCC. David Mengesdorf rounded off the BMW Motorsport line-up with a demo run in the Formula BMW junior racing car.
"We're well aware that a lot of people in the various departments are keenly following our fortunes and have bets on our results. However, it is not possible to involve the workforce properly at the circuits, so we had to come up with something special instead," explained Theissen. "It is wonderful to see the BMW employees getting behind the sport. Support from within the company really helps us and gives us extra incentives. If we continue to pull together in this way then we will be well set to achieve that maiden GP victory we have set our sights on for 2008."
Heidfeld started the day with a tour through the production halls. "The scale of the machinery is impressive, but the euphoric reception I was given by the workforce was even more amazing," said the German. "I lost track of how many hands I was shaking."
Due to flexible break times, production at the plant was halted from 11.15 to 12.30 hrs to give the workers the opportunity to watch the driving demonstrations and collect autographs. After a break for lunch, Heidfeld spent a further hour in another area of the production facility. "And even then we barely had enough time," he said. "There were still hundreds of people I would like to have talked to."
Heidfeld and Mengesdorf will set off later today for Barcelona to prepare for the Formula One GP and the start of the Formula BMW Europe season respectively. Müller, meanwhile, will have to wait until 18th May for his next World Touring Car Championship race in Valencia. "I am sure that we will enjoy even greater support in the future," he concluded.