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BMW - World champions 2009?

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BMW - World champions 2009?
Dec 1, 2008, 6:27 PM

There have been some very positive noises coming out of Munich recently to the effect that BMW has set its goal for 2009 as nothing less than figh...

There have been some very positive noises coming out of Munich recently to the effect that BMW has set its goal for 2009 as nothing less than fighting for the world championship. No big deal, I hear you say, teams always come out with that kind of talk.

Well not BMW. Mario Theissen's team has always been meticulous in setting targets that it believes it can hit. If you read my Theissen interview elsewhere on this site you'll get more background insight into the way the man thinks. He's a company man, one who has come up through the ranks by hitting targets, sending memos and doing the right things and he's been very careful in F1. The partnership with Williams was going well until they started to miss their targets and it was a short step from there to BMW setting up its own team based on the Sauber outfit. Ruthless, but very effective.

Theissen has hit his targets for three consecutive years, which is pretty rare in F1. But they could have done even better and that's what makes you take them very seriously for next year. I still believe that the BMW team ducked out of the possibility of winning Monaco in 2007, where it made daft strategy choices, which it explained as being safety car based. But I think they didn't want to win a race too soon and then raise expectations unrealistically for 2008. It had to progress in stages. Where's the passion, you ask? Well stuff passion, this campaign has been meticulously planned and executed by Theissen, in so far as you can plan for something as chaotic at times as F1. They have also not fallen foul of the FIA in any major way yet.

Last season the targets were met by June, with the win and at least third place in the constructors' championship, so they focussed the bulk of their development work on 2009.

Now comes the big one. They are outnumbered by the staff of Ferrari and McLaren, but they believe that they are more efficient. Fighting for a championship brings in a high level of emotion with everyone concerned, not least the mechanics and strange things can happen, as we saw with Massa's refuelling problem in Singapore.

BMW have done the backroom work. It was interesting talking to the other teams after the recent Barcelona test, they were impressed with how developed a 2009 package BMW turned up with there.

McLaren certainly expect to start the season a bit behind, as they threw so much effort into winning this year's championship. Robert Kubica was certainly very jealous that McLaren did that for Hamilton when BMW would not do the same for him. He will have his chance next season. BMW has also been one of the most enthusiastic backers of KERS and they wouldn't be taking that position if their system wasn't looking good.

So BMW, world champions next year? I'm sure they'll fight for it, but I'm sure too that when it gets down to the 'squeaky bum time' at the end of the season we will start to see some passion from this so far very calculating and methodical outfit.
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