Nick Heidfeld is optimistic BMW can break its victory duck in Formula 1 this year, describing the newly-launched F1.08 as 'the most beautiful car I've ever seen'.

The German twice mounted the rostrum in 2007 - taking second place in Canada and third in Hungary - en route to fifth spot in the end-of-season drivers' standings. After 35 outings with the Munich and Hinwil-based squad, though, and 132 starts in the top flight over the course of his eight-year F1 career, he is still in search of his maiden triumph. That, he is confident, could well change in 2008.

"I'm very excited," the 30-year-old enthused at the Munich launch of the team's new challenger, "because I know the people in the factory are quite happy with the progress we have made. Honestly it's the most beautiful car I've ever seen. I know that doesn't mean anything at all, but because of how it looks I'm looking forward to the next few days and weeks.

"I'm sure I can win races, but it all obviously depends on the car. We should be able to close the gap further on the cars ahead of us, and our clear goal this season is to win a race."

Like a number of other drivers, Heidfeld professed himself pleased with the ban on traction control and other electronic driver aids for the forthcoming campaign, whilst pointing to his good relationship with team-mate Robert Kubica as an important factor behind BMW's impressive 2007 success.

"For me as a driver it's more exciting and more fun to drive," he said of the regulation changes. "We are steering the car more on the throttle. I think we will see more mistakes and more overtaking, and that is what people want.

"I also think it's important that you [team-mates] work together well on a professional basis to improve the car, even if you don't get on very well on a personal basis, but I get on very well with Robert in both ways. I've never had a problem with any of my team-mates."

Kubica, for his part, is similarly eagerly anticipating the fast-approaching season, and particularly the two new events in Singapore and Valencia, with a strong record on street circuits including Macau and Monaco in past years. He echoed his team-mate's thoughts on the possibility of reaching the top step of the podium in 2008.

"I'm a big fan of street circuits," underlined the Pole, who is getting set to enter his second full campaign with BMW, "so I'm particularly looking forward to Singapore and Valencia as well as Monaco.

"I think the whole season will be a big challenge, every single race. We have to maximise our performance and score as many points as possible.

"We made really big progress in 2006 and 2007, and I believe all the people who have worked on the new car have given their maximum. I think we have the right people in the right places, and maybe we can win a race this season."



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