Theissen praises 'third best team' BMW

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen was 'delighted' with the squad's performance in Melbourne and declared that BMW Sauber was the third best team on the opening weekend of the 2007 season. Ferrari and McLaren were the leaders of the pack but BMW carried through its winter promise and outdid reigning constructors' champions Renault.

Dr. Mario Theissen, BMW Sauber F1 Team, BMW Motorsport Director.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"The most important revelation from this weekend was the fact that we confirmed the great shape we looked to be in during pre-season testing," Theissen said. "Both in the qualifying session and the race, we were clearly the third best team. This represents a notable leap forward and a great foundation for the races ahead."

Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica qualified third and fifth respectively but the race wasn't trouble free. Heidfeld finished fourth and picked up five points but Kubica was forced to retire with a gearbox problem. He was running in the fourth spot at the time and Heidfeld was fifth, so BMW had good pace overall.

"Nick had an impressive race and secured an equally impressive fourth place, thereby scoring the first five points for our team," Theissen added. "He initially went out on softer tyres, because we hadn't expected them to be that durable. With hindsight, we could have opted for a longer first stint."

"Robert was at the same level as Nick and also delivered a fine performance. Unfortunately, however, his gearbox got stuck in fifth gear and he was no longer able to change gears. We are still working on examining the reason for this problem."

Theissen conceded that sorting out reliability issues is BMW's focus at the moment and is confident that progress will be made ready for the next race in Malaysia. It's back to work for a three day test at the Sepang circuit at the end of this month but for the moment there's a little time to enjoy the encouraging performance in Australia.

"Both drivers did a fine job throughout the weekend, they were very cool-headed and showed great competitiveness at all times," Theissen said. "They would have finished fourth and fifth respectively. I have to compliment them and the entire team."