Dr Mario Theissen has lauded Formula 1's brave new technological dawn in 2009 - but warned that though there are many opportunities for teams to get it right and take a leap up the grid, there are just as many opportunities for them to get it wrong...

BMW's Motorsport Director has long been an advocate of the need to rein in what had been ever-escalating expenditure within the top flight and provide a better spectacle for the fans, and as such he has supported the current cost-cutting drive from day one. Whether it will have the desired effect in terms of generating greater overtaking, he admits the jury remains out, but he is convinced that finally F1 is heading in the right direction.

"It is," the German told Crash.net Radio, when asked if the sport is entering an exciting new era. "There are many new questions, many open alleys - and many opportunities to get it right or wrong.

"I have to rely on the technical directors who came up with this regulations proposal, on the basis that they expect more overtaking. It's too early to tell if it will really materialise, but I hope it will because it's very important to improve the show.

"It's very exciting for the engineers, but on top of that I think it's very important for Formula 1, because we are embarking on a route which is relevant to future road car technology. This will not just help the individual teams, but it will also re-position the image of Formula 1 as a whole."

Key to bridging the chasm between state-of-the-art grand prix excellence and road car development is of course KERS, the FIA's much-debated Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems technology.

Though BMW has been the sternest defender of KERS against many of its rivals' frequent misgivings, Theissen would not be drawn on the likelihood of the cars of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica being equipped with the energy-saving devices come the season-opener Down Under in Melbourne at the end of March.

"We are making steady progress," was all the 56-year-old would concede. "If I look back to when we started maybe 15 months ago it was pure research; now we are in the phase of developing it to get ready to race it.

"There has been lots of progress made, lots of experience gained and lots of experience transferred to our road car department already, so we are really excited about this project."

by Russell Atkins