Theissen: We must close gap to McLaren and Ferrari

TheissenBMW Sauber chief Mario Theissen has conceded that his team were not able to close the gap to Ferrari and McLaren as much as they would have liked in the second half of the season.

The German-Swiss outfit found themselves with an outside chance of winning both world championships right up until the penultimate race of the season, courtesy of a sensational 1-2 finish in Canada and no fewer than eleven visits to the podium.

The team made clear their intentions to plough resources into developing next year’s car in the context of sweeping regulation changes that should level the field.

That did not stop them from challenging McLaren and Ferrari in the course of the season, but Mario Theissen reckons the team could have closed the gap.

“In terms of pure performance, we still have ground to make up on Ferrari and McLaren Mercedes,” admits the German, “and we didn t make the progress we hoped to in the second half of the season.”

“Indeed, some of our development projects did not yield the expected performance gains on the track.

“But I am certain we shall learn the lessons from this for 2009. After all, we want to be up there fighting for the World Championship title next season.”

BMW Sauber are only ten points adrift of McLaren ahead of the season finale in Brazil, and could still beat the Woking squad to second place in the constructors championship – though this is unlikely given the reliability and performance advantage of the MP4-23.

“This achievement does not come down to chance,” said Theissen commenting on BMW Sauber’s unexpected success this year.

“Our trump cards this season have been spotless reliability, our for the most part excellent race strategy, outstanding work in the pit stops and a very small number of mistakes from the drivers.”