Despite having admitted that second place in the Formula One constructors' championship may now be beyond it, BMW Sauber insists that it will not be switching its focus to 2009 with seven races remaining in 2008.

The Munich/Hinwil team has been the surprise package of the current campaign, mixing it with Ferrari and McLaren for much of the year, before appearing to fall away from the pace - if not the podium - in recent races. With Felipe Massa leading comfortably in Hungary and Heikki Kovalainen winning, however, team boss Mario Theissen admits that BMW Sauber may now be shooting for third place in the championship, but insists that there will be no backing off, despite adding just a single point to its tally in Budapest.

"We were not just slow, we were also inconsistent," Theissen told the team's official website, "Like Ferrari, we also witnessed that one car was doing much better than the other, [and] there was something out there that we did not understand, [but] obviously we aren't going to sit down and twiddle our thumbs as we still have developments in the pipeline - aerodynamic as well as mechanical. We definitely won't stop the development of the F1.08 because of one unsatisfying result."

Since the launch of the latest offering from BMW Sauber in January, the team has pressed ahead with extensive development of the car, with Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and test drivers Christian Klien and Marko Asmer having completed more than 4000 laps at the wheel in testing alone - a distance of around 18,000 kilometres. With the FIA sporting regulations permitting every Formula One team to cover a total testing mileage of 30,000 kilometres per season, there is still some way to go before BMW Sauber can call itself exhausted.

The biggest problem for the team, especially in light of its Hungaroring performance - where Kubica and Heidfeld managed only eighth and tenth respectively - is the ban on track testing between the Budapest race and the new event on the streets of Valencia in two weekends' time.

Indeed, there is no track development time allowed until the Monza group test ahead of the Italian Grand Prix, leaving Theissen to predict that there will be a lot of activity on the opening day of the European GP in Spain, even though BMW Sauber's Hinwil base has access to a 'supercomputer' able to carry out extensive simulations of the new venue.

"Of course, we will do anything possible to analyse a totally unfamiliar track," the German claimed, "We have a track map and can estimate how fast it is and which aero settings it requires, but there will be more questions marks than usual before we drive there for the first time on the Friday. I expect much more action on the track during the Friday sessions than is usually the case."


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