BMW Sauber's race line up will be unchanged next season as the Swiss-German squad confirmed on August 21st that Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica will again be teammates in 2008. The team cited the importance of continuity and BMW motorsport...
BMW Sauber's race line up will be unchanged next season as the Swiss-German squad confirmed on August 21st that Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica will again be teammates in 2008. The team cited the importance of continuity and BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen praised the efforts of the pair this year, with Heidfeld currently fifth in the drivers' standings and Kubica sixth.
"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 previously raced for Sauber and worked with BMW when the German manufacturer was still engine partner to Williams in 2005. Once BMW took over Sauber it made no secret of the fact that it wanted Heidfeld on board and he duly joined the team for its debut 2006 season. So far this year Heidfeld has scored 42 points and is fifth overall behind the McLaren and Ferrari teammates.
"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," Heidfeld 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."
Robert Kubica was the team's test driver in 2006 and stepped up to a race seat at the Hungarian GP when Jacques Villeneuve was allegedly still recovering from a crash in Germany. But relations between Villeneuve and BMW were strained and the Canadian did not return; Kubica has been behind the wheel ever since. The Pole is sixth overall, 14 points behind Heidfeld.
"I have now been in Formula One for just over one year and have gathered a great deal of experience," Kubica commented. "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."
BMW was previously evasive about its 2008 line up and many thought that either Heidfeld or Kubica would have to make way for tester Sebastian Vettel. However, Vettel is a long-term Red Bull prot?g? and was signed up to race for Toro Rosso next year. BMW said that an announcement regarding the test and third driver role for 2008, currently occupied by Timo Glock, will be made at a later date.