The BMW Sauber F1 team has confirmed that it will retain the services of both Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica for the 2008 Formula 1 World Championship campaign.

The pair have helped BMW establish itself as the 'best of the rest' behind McLaren and Ferrari this season, with the team currently in a comfortable third place in the constructors championship - 38 points clear of defending champions Renault.

Despite suggestions that the team could provide a new home for Fernando Alonso if he elected to leave McLaren before the end of his contract, BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen admitted that continuing with the same drivers left the team in excellent shape.

"Both Nick and Robert have delivered very strong performances in the course of this season," he said. "They have played a decisive role in enabling the BMW Sauber F1 Team to firmly establish itself as the third best team in Formula One. Forty two world championship points plus two podium places says everything about Nick's achievements. Thanks to his extensive experience he is making a substantial contribution to the progress of the team.

"For Robert, 2007 is his first full season in the top echelon of motor sport. In his brief Formula One career so far he has established himself as equal to Nick. He is extremely fast and, for somebody so young, already has a very sound understanding of technical matters. Robert is a rough diamond we want to polish up into a winning driver. With this strong driver team we are in an excellent position."

Heidfeld in particular has impressed during the course of the season, with the German revelling in his role as team leader. Currently fifth in the standings, the 30-year-old admitted there was never any doubt that he would be looking to remain with the team.

"For me it was always clear that I wanted to continue driving for the BMW Sauber F1 Team, and I never doubted that would be the case," he said. "It is tremendous being able to help build up a new team and doing my bit for it. When I look at the progress we have made over the last two years, it's an incredible incentive for me. Personally I have high sporting ambitions and I am certain I can achieve them with the BMW Sauber F1 Team."

Kubica meanwhile, in his first full season of F1 competition, has bounced back from his huge Canadian shunt with points finishes in the last four races, and the Pole will aim to continue his progress through the new season.

"I have now been in Formula One for just over one year and have gathered a great deal of experience," he said. "Even so, I am learning new things every day and making steady progress. We now have to concentrate on achieving our ambitious common goals, and I'm confident that the team will be able to give me all the necessary tools that I need to reward them for their renewed trust."

A test and reserve driver will be named at a later date.

 

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