BMW Sauber looking to extend lead

The BMW Sauber F1 Team has barely embarked on its third season and is already heading for its first Formula One Grand Prix as the leader of the constructors' championship.

In the first three World Championship races of the 2008 season, the team was on the podium each time (two second places and a third), had its first pole position (Robert Kubica/Bahrain) and set its first fastest race lap (Nick Heidfeld/Malaysia).

With 30 points, the BMW Sauber F1 Team is one ahead of Ferrari and two of McLaren Mercedes.

During the brief spring break all the teams have been upgrading their cars in preparation for the European curtain-raiser in Barcelona on 27th April. The Spanish Grand Prix on the impressive but unforgiving Circuit de Catalunya could prompt a reappraisal of where the teams stand relative to one another.

Nick Heidfeld: "The Spanish Grand Prix has its own special ambiance because the stands are now regularly packed to the rafters. The fans ensure a brilliant atmosphere, which we as drivers pick up on to some extent as well. Although I have already clocked up hundreds of race and test laps on the Circuit de Catalunya, boredom just doesn't come into it. It has often been the case that a set-up determined during testing was no longer the right one for the race weekend. That could be due to the weather or to the condition of the track, which naturally accumulates much more rubber deposits over a grand prix weekend than during testing.  Now the question everybody wants to hear the answer to is: how well are the new components, with which we've modified the BMW Sauber F1.08 since the initial overseas races, going to work? I'm also very keen to see whether we have made more progress with our new developments than the competition. At any rate, I'm confident that we will be just as strong as in Australia, Malaysia and Bahrain."

Robert Kubica:"I think we will have a more predictable race than the first three overseas Grands Prix. The conditions this time round are completely different. All the teams know the Barcelona circuit like the back of their hands because we do a lot of testing here. That's why I expect the gaps between the teams to become a lot smaller than in the last races. Everyone will be coming to the season’s first European Grand Prix on top form. I guess all the teams will be lining up with an improved car. But at the same time that means we also have to get the maximum out of the BMW Sauber F1.08. If we manage that, and since the latest test in Barcelona I am firmly convinced we will, I'll be racing right up at the front again. My goal is to achieve a good result to earn as many points as possible for myself and the team."