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BMW Sauber not yet ready to call off 2009 campaign 09 Jun 2009

Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Race, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Sunday, 7 June 2009 Dr Mario Theissen (GER) BMW Sauber F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 6 June 2009 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.09.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 6 June 2009 Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, Turkish Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Istanbul Park, Turkey, Saturday, 6 June 2009

With the season already seven races old, 2008 frontrunners BMW Sauber have just eight points - 62 less than at the same point last year. Given that championship leaders Brawn are already on 96, even the most loyal BMW fan would concede that the title is probably beyond the German-Swiss team’s reach.

However, after ongoing development work on the F1.09 brought them back into the points in Sunday’s Turkish Grand Prix, BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen is refusing to write-off the team’s 2009 campaign.

“I’m often asked these days if it wouldn’t be better to simply stop working on the enhancement of the F1.09 and fully focus on our 2010 challenger instead,” said Theissen on BMW Sauber’s official site. “But this doesn’t represent an option for us. We won’t give up on the current season - far from it!”

After failing to trouble the top ten at the previous Monaco round, BMW Sauber certainly took a step forward at Istanbul Park. Although a poor start meant Nick Heidfeld finished outside the points, team mate Robert Kubica scored two - his first of the season - for his seventh place. And Theissen believes it was the addition of a new two-tier diffuser, and associated aerodynamic modifications, that made the difference.

“The race at Istanbul was the first we contested with our new twin diffuser. And the new component proved to be useful,” said the German. “Our car was fast enough at Istanbul to score points without having to benefit from any on-track incidents or the bad luck of other drivers. Obviously this isn’t enough to make anyone in the team complacent but it represents a basis we can use for our next enhancements.”

Following the new diffuser’s encouraging debut, far from putting development work on hold to focus on 2010, Theissen has accelerated the team’s 2009 programme, promising to bring new parts - including enhanced versions of the diffuser - to every second or third race over the coming months.

“There is still a lot of work waiting for us but the result secured at Istanbul was vital for the motivation of the entire squad, nonetheless,” he concluded. “At the end of the season we want to be able to say that we’ve encountered a disappointing start to the season but that we succeeded in turning things around and making it back to the front end of the field.”