Mario Theissen has said that a breakthrough win is the aim for his team in 2008, although the BMW motorsport director admits it will be difficult to take the fight to Ferrari and McLaren in the battle for the Formula 1 title.

Thanks to stellar performances from both Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica, the team became the most regular challengers to the top two during 2007, with the pair finishing fifth and sixth in the drivers' standings and the team taking second in the constructors' championship - albeit only after McLaren was excluded for its part in the Formula 1 spying row.

However, that was still a noticeable improvement for the team as it almost doubled the points tally of defending champions Renault and broke through the 100 point barrier for the first time - results that Theissen admitted he was delighted with.

"It's a really astonishing feat that our young team achieved this year, especially as teams like Honda and Toyota also started out claiming they would go all the way to the top, or - as in Renault's case - stay there," he said in an interview with the e-magazine of team sponsor Credit Suisse. "Why these teams failed to meet their targets is difficult to say: It may well be they went wrong in terms of developing the car; maybe they didn't do a good job in terms of the switch to standardized tires, too. In contrast, we made major strides during the winter. And in the shape of the F1.07, we built a car that was considerably faster than the old one.

"For our second season, we set ourselves a minimum target of fourth place. By coming third, we've gone one step better. According to the official statistics, it's actually second place after the fine handed out to McLaren-Mercedes. But we're realistic. We know there were still four cars in front of us that are faster. We want to beat them on the track too."

In aiming to beat both Ferrari and McLaren, the team will now hope to fight for its first win during 2008, although Theissen admitted that it was important for his team to not only focus on the team ahead but focus on the chasing pack.

"We want to win our first race next year, and I hope that ultimately it'll be more than just one victory," he said. "But we also know how difficult that'll be, because both Ferrari and McLaren-Mercedes have been at the top for many years now and they obviously have a head start in terms of experience. Getting one up on those two teams will be a hard nut to crack.

"[However], not only are our rivals far from standing still: They're also under massive pressure. That's why we need to deal with a situation where everyone is putting their foot down just as much as we are. Renault is the first that springs to mind on that score: They were world champions twice in a row, and have since lost the plot a bit.

"In the closing races of this season, I also saw good form on display from Williams and Red Bull - and so we need to keep our eyes on them too. As for Honda and Toyota, it's difficult to guess how things will go for them."

 

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