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Theissen: BMW Sauber will fight for title in 2009 05 Nov 2008

Dr Mario Theissen (GER) BMW Sauber F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, 31 October 2008 Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1, Dr Mario Theissen (GER) BMW Sauber F1 Team Principal and Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1pose for photographers after being confirmed as BMW Sauber drivers for 2009.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Japanese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Fuji Speedway, Friday, 10 October 2008 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.08.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Interlagos, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Saturday, 1 November 2008

After watching Ferrari clinch the constructors’ crown and McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton take his first drivers’ title at the weekend, BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen has refocused his ambitious sights on the 2009 season. Theissen believes BMW Sauber will step out of the shadows cast by their more experienced rivals to become bona fide title contenders next year.

“With immediate effect we will fully focus on the BMW Sauber F1.09,” said Theissen on the team’s official website. “After all, after the season is before the season. The challenges are big but we will stick to our ambitious goal: in 2009, we want to be one of the teams battling it out for the title.”

BMW Sauber finished the 2008 championship third on 135 points to Ferrari’s 172 and McLaren’s 151. However, Theissen believes that wide-ranging changes to the 2009 regulations could bring about a shift in the standings, as teams adjust at different rates to the new rules.

“A shift in the balance of power on the 2009 Formula One grid is entirely possible,” explained Theissen. “In 2009, Formula One will have to face arguably the most dramatic rule changes in the history of the sport. Due to the aerodynamic restrictions, the appearance of the single-seaters will differ massively from this year's Formula One cars.

“To cut a long story short: the front will be bulkier, there won't be any winglets and superstructures in front of and on the side pods respectively - and the rear wing will be smaller and positioned higher. Furthermore, slicks will make their comeback. In addition, the introduction of the KERS technology for the recovery of brake energy is in the offing.”

And despite the obvious challenges of the 2009 season, Theissen is optimistic that BMW Sauber are on schedule with their development programme.

“In both Munich and Hinwil, we have been working flat-out on the developments for the coming season and the work on the different projects is progressing as scheduled, so far,” he added. “The roll-out of the BMW Sauber F1.09 has been scheduled for 20th January at Valencia. Afterwards, we will conduct three further tests before the 2009 season kicks off in Melbourne on 29th March.”