Foggy WSB project up against it
Foggy won’t know if his WSB project has any hope of getting off the ground this year until the end of April.
By then the first three-cylinder engine must have completed extensive bench testing, or the season is over before it starts.
Eskil Suter, the engineering expert Foggy has entrusted to get his all-new WSB bike ready to race at Laguna Seca in July, is already expressing concern over the demanding deadlines.
He said: " This job is like a suicide mission. It is a crazy challenge, but all the parties involved know that, including Petronas which is paying for it all. Only by April will we be able to tell if we can be ready.
" If we achieve our goal we will have done something that nobody has ever done before in such a short period of time. "
Foggy said: " I haven’t spoken with Eskil directly but I have total faith in him and the team he has behind him to get the job done. If I hadn’t then he wouldn’t be doing it because Petronas are adamant the job has to be done on time and to the best standards. "
Suter added: " Our main ambition must be to finish as many races as possible in 2002. We are not talking about top ten finishes – that is a goal for the year after. "
Suter has a 25-man team which includes several of the original development team from Sauber Petronas Engineering. They will move into a new factory by the end of February and hope to assemble the first batch of bikes in early May.
The first concept model of the FP1, in clay, will be ready for wind-tunnel testing within three weeks according to Foggy.
Ohlins has already agreed to supply suspension technical support, Brembo the brakes and Italian firm OZ, the wheels.
MORE ON THIS IN MCN, ON SALE, FEBRUARY 13, 2002.