Bmw Unsure of Renaults Threat

By: Anthony Fontanelle

BMW Sauber has had a firm hold at the third spot in the constructors' championship standing at the ongoing Formula One season. During the past four races though, fourth place and defending constructors' champion Renault has performed better and has claimed to take the third spot from BMW and eventually catch up with Ferrari and McLaren.

Although BMW Sauber's tandem of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica finished better than Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen, the team is still unsure whether Renault is a strong threat to their third place position.

Going into the British Grand Prix, BMW Sauber has 48 points to its credit while Renault is 20 points behind. BMW Sauber is now being considered as the best of the rest as McLaren and Ferrari are dominating every race of the season so far with the exception of the Canadian Grand Prix.

BMW Sauber posted their first podium finish of the season with Heidfeld finishing second. Williams' Alex Wurz also managed to take a podium finish at that race. So far, that was the only race that any driver from a team other than McLaren and Ferrari finished in the top three.

Mario Theissen, BMW Sauber's team boss has this to say about Renault's statements saying that overtaking BMW is their target. "I heard about Renault's improvements in the press, but I am not sure if they were on the track as well. They were certainly close (to us) in terms of time in Magny-Cours, but then you have to see the time gaps are generally close in Magny-Cours."

Meanwhile, BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld had a trouble free practice session Friday. The duo though is not pleased with the setup of their cars which are of course sourced from BMW with components as reliable as BMW 325i parts.

"I would say it was quite an easy day. There is a little bit of set-up work to be done for tomorrow for free practice and qualifying, so we have to analyze today's data, but we had no problems so it was quite good," said Kubica.

"Although I missed the test on the second lap my times were already good, so this was not a big issue. Maybe I could have prepared for my race set-up a little better if I had run in the last test session here, because the track has changed quite a lot and is now bumpier. Now we have to just look at the data and work on that."

Heidfeld, on the other hand, has this to say: "In the first session and at the beginning of the second one everything went well. Later my car was not so good, although we didn't change much. It was difficult to drive, so we have to figure out why. Even over the bumps here in Silverstone I don't have any problems even with my back."

Whether the French team Renault can overtake the German-Swiss team is still a big question. With Renault's performance getting better after a not so good start, BMW may contend with Renault in a hard fought battle before the season is done. Meanwhile, rookie sensation Lewis Hamilton gave British fans something to cheer about as he set the fastest lap time in the morning practice session Friday.

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