Sakhir, Monday: BMW Sauber boss Mario Thiessen has admitted that his team is no longer so smug about the improved weather they had hoped to find in their Bahrain tests, after last week’s sessions were disrupted by sandstorms.

Bahrain, last week
Sandy: Bahrain, last week

Thiessen was quoted in the press a few weeks ago as saying that other teams’ decisions not to follow his outfit to Bahrain with Ferrari and Toyota was “very silly,” and that “the rain in Europe means that they will get practically no useful running. We expect to uncover a huge advantage by testing in the heat and dry conditions in Bahrain.”

However, BMW’s initial optimism turned out to be unfounded, as though the rain stayed away, the Bahrain test was hit by sandstorms, meaning that testing at the desert venue was curtailed on several days.

“Having reflected on the situation for a few days,” Thiessen told journalists, “we have decided that our early feelings on the advantages of the Bahrain test may have been somewhat inaccurate. It seems that we had failed to take into account the significant damage to schedules that can be caused by errant sand blowing all over the place.

“The teams at Jerez obviously had no such troubles, which causes us to gloomily forecast that we may not have such a great advantage in Melbourne as we had previously hoped.”

The other two teams at the Bahrain test last week, Ferrari and Toyota, appeared to be unmoved by the unfavourable conditions, with Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen offering a bemused grunt as a comment on the situation.