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New BMW Sauber 'a big step forward' 14 Jan 2008

The launch of the BMW Sauber F1.08. The new BMW Sauber F1.08 Monday January 14, 2008, BMW Welt, Munich, Germany. © BMW AG   The new BMW Sauber F1.08 BMW Sauber F1.08 Launch, BMW Welt, Munich, Germany, Monday 14 January 2008. World © Sutton (L to R): Dr Mario Theissen (GER) BMW Sauber F1 Team Principal, Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1, Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1 and Willi Rampf (SUI) BMW Sauber Technical Director. BMW Sauber F1.08 Launch, BMW Welt, Munich, Germany, Monday 14 January 2008. World © Sutton

BMW Sauber have presented the car they hope will finally put them on the top step of the podium this year, following their strong 2007 showing. The wraps came off the F1.08 at BMW’s Munich facility on Monday, with team principal Mario Theissen declaring it a major advance on its predecessor.

“It includes everything we have learnt and experienced in the first two years - it will be a big step forward again,” said Theissen, who led BMW Sauber to second place in the 2007 constructors’ championship.

The team scored points in every race last season and in the F1.08 Theissen hopes they now have the equipment to challenge the likes of Ferrari and McLaren for 2008 race victories. “We are confident we can turn the battle in front into a battle of more than two teams,” he added.

BMW Sauber are retaining their 2007 race line-up of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica for the coming season and both the German and the Pole are optimistic of making more podium appearances, perhaps even on the middle step.

“It is generally very difficult to define expectations and make forecasts, but
I hope that our plan works out and we are able to win our first race in 2008,” said Heidfeld. “I expect us to move forward in all areas - particularly as far as reliability is concerned - and to learn from our mistakes. This development process is essential in what we’re trying to achieve.”

Kubica added: “I will also be looking to achieve greater consistency in my results during my second full season in Formula One. Retirements and that crash in Canada - which also prevented me from starting in the USA - cost me points in 2007. We all need to take further steps forward in 2008 and make maximum use of every opportunity that presents itself.”

Among the changes on the new BMW machine are significant revisions to the car’s aerodynamics, its rear suspension and its engine packaging. Following Monday’s launch, which will include some demonstration laps by driver Nick Heidfeld inside BMW’s new vehicle delivery centre, the F1.08 will be flown to Valencia in Spain, where it will make its testing debut on Tuesday.