BMW Sauber team principal Mario Theissen has revealed that he is optimistic that the Hinwil squad can maintain its position as 'best of the rest' behind Ferrari and McLaren to the end of the season.

Speaking at BMW's 'home' event at the Nurburgring, Theissen claimed that, in his opinion, the team had shown that it could develop as well and as quickly as the two leading teams and, despite a few niggling problems during the addition of new ideas, the F1.07 continued to be the biggest threat of disrupting the podium party.

"It looks to me like the gap between the two strongest teams and us has stayed about the same since the very first race, which is a very good achievement for us, because it means we are developing during the season as quickly as the strongest teams on the grid," he reasoned, "I think we have not only had a strong first half of the season, securing the third position as a team, but we can also be confident for the second half. We have some improvements here and in the coming races and this should give us the opportunity to keep this position and to look forward and try to shorten the gap."

Theissen revealed that there had been ongoing problems with the F1.07's gearbox installation, but insisted that the team was on top of the matter and that it would not be a problem in races.

"We had two problems at Spa in the test and a problem at Silverstone on the Friday," he confirmed, "They were not related to each other, but it was about the environment of the gearbox, about the gear-shifting and around the gearbox itself.

"I have to say it is quite a complex thing and you have to get in line mechanical things which are activated hydraulically, then the hydraulic activators are controlled electronically. And you have to get that right under all possible driving conditions. It takes some time to sort everything out, to get all the bugs out of the system, but it shouldn't hamper us in the races."



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