BMW Sauber confident after revealing 2009 car

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The Independent Online

BMW Sauber motorsport boss Mario Theissen feels a sustained assault on both Formula One world titles this season is within reach.

Last year Robert Kubica led the drivers' championship following his victory in the Canadian Grand Prix while the team held sway in the constructors' title race after the first three races.



However, both the Pole and BMW Sauber fell away during the closing stages, due in part to the team's decision to robustly develop the car that was today unveiled at Valencia's Ricardo Tormo circuit.



The F1.09 passed its initial inspection under clear blue skies as Kubica, who finished fourth and 23 points adrift of Lewis Hamilton come the conclusion of the season, conducted an installation lap.



But given the progress of the team over the past three years since taking over Sauber, Theissen believes they are capable of pushing McLaren and Ferrari all the way to the wire.



"We communicated our targets for 2009 four years ago," said Theissen.



"We set out a plan, aiming at points in the first season in 2006, on the podium in '07, win our first race in '08, before fighting for the championship from this year onwards.



"So far all the targets have been met, so there is no reason why we should abandon the final and most difficult one.



"We now want to fight for the championship with the other two big teams."



While Kubica has undoubtedly proven he has the ability to compete, much will be expected of team-mate Nick Heidfeld, who has so often failed to deliver.



With 150 grands prix behind him, the 31-year-old German has yet to win, although he has finished runner-up on seven occasions.



Theissen insists Heidfeld is unlikely to have a better opportunity in light of the regulation changes that have made for a more level playing field.



"I can't take away the pressure from a driver, and definitely we want to win ourselves," added Theissen.



"He should have a good chance to win a race this year because he is so experienced and capable of dealing with technical issues, along with understanding the new car, and that should help him."



Heidfeld is convinced he has it within himself to not just be a winner, but a champion.



"So far there have not been many cases where I could have won, but there is not something in my head where I believe I have to win," remarked Heidfeld.



"I believe I can win when the car is right, the situation is there, and I believe I can fight for the championship.



"That is the target in the end, to win the championship, not just one race."



As for Kubica, the 24-year-old from Krakow feels a concerted team effort could bring him the crown.



"Last year we saw that by working together we can achieve good results, and in particular in the first half of the season we were title contenders," said Kubica.



"But everybody remembers how it finished, so we will try to repeat the first half of the season and finish in a better way than last year."



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