In the light of McLaren's apparent struggle for pace and Ferrari's persistent reliability niggles, it would be tempting to say that BMW-Sauber is emerging as the 2009 pre-season Formula 1 title favourite – but Robert Kubica has dismissed that notion.
Whilst the expected 'grandee' teams are looking somewhat fragile in the run-up to the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne at the end of the month – grappling to get to grips with F1's dramatic new aerodynamic and mechanical regulations sufficiently quickly – the BMW-Sauber F1.09 has proven to be both solid and rapid.
The Munich and Hinwil-based outfit has always stated that, after achieving its breakthrough grand prix victory in 2008 courtesy of Kubica in Montreal, 2009 is the year in which it is going to go all-out for glory.
The Polish star, however, has urged caution, predicting that Ferrari, Toyota and the astonishing new Brawn GP machine are all arguably ahead of BMW heading Down Under.
“I would not say [we are] the favourites,” the 24-year-old from Kraków insisted in an interview with Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport
. “At this test everyone was trying to get some idea [of the pecking order]. Although you never know what the others are doing, at Barcelona there were cars that were stronger than us.”