Adding credence to whispers that have been doing the rounds of the Formula One paddock in recent weeks, the sport's latest race-winner, Robert Kubica, has revealed that he would welcome the challenge of having Fernando Alonso alongside him at BMW-Sauber.

An increasing number of rumours have linked the former double world champion to the Munich and Hinwil-based outfit in 2009, as he seeks a return to winning machinery following what has thus far been a frustrating season at Renault.

With similar suggestions that the struggling Nick Heidfeld's days at BMW are looking to be somewhat numbered - the German is 14 points adrift of Kubica in the drivers' standings after the opening seven races, and having been out-qualified on every single occasion - a Kubica-Alonso pairing at the Bavarian squad next year would appear far from out of the question. The two are already close friends, and often spend the evenings during race weekends out to dinner or playing cards.

Asked by Spanish newspaper El Pais how he would feel about having the 19-time grand prix winner as his team-mate, the new world championship leader replied: "I would have no problem with that. I get along with him very well.

"I do not know what the future holds but, if we do both drive for BMW, we would have a lot of fun.

"We appreciate each other as drivers, but also as people. You know with him that, when he says something, it is what he really thinks.

"He is not someone who thinks too much about his image, or says something for marketing or just to look good."

With the 23-year old Canadian Grand Prix winner looking a dead-cert to remain at BMW next season, with a somewhat higher retainer in recognition of his superb form this year - including his peerless Montreal success, three further podiums from the opening seven races and his maiden pole position in the top flight in Bahrain - Kubica insisted that, though he hoped BMW would now put its efforts behind him in his world championship bid, he did not consider himself henceforth the squad's de facto team leader.

"I don't think that is what I need to be," the man from Krak?w urged. "All that matters is that I do my job well and try to improve every day.

"In the end, that's what counts - staying focused on your job of winning races."