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F1 NEWS 

BMW not planning to ease off this year

BMW Sauber's Nick HeidfeldBMW Sauber say they will keep pushing hard with their development of this year's car in a bid to prove that there are now three top teams in Formula One.

Although the speed of the F1.08 means that they are virtually assured of third place in the constructors' championship even if they freeze work on it, the Hinwil-based outfit have no intention of easing off their efforts this year so they can focus more resources to 2009.

"We are certainly pushing more because we don't want to be seen as number three - but as one of the top three teams," Theissen told autosport.com when asked about their mindset for the remainder of the season.

"We want to keep the gap as small as we can. We want to see the gap behind us, not in front of us."

Although Theissen concedes that rivals McLaren and Ferrari do enjoy a speed advantage, he thinks BMW Sauber are close enough to be in a position to capitalise on any problems the others may have.

"It is clear that the other two cars are quicker than ours and I don't expect that to change in the remaining races," he said. "We will try and stay as close as possible, and then wait and see what the race brings. Anything is possible.

"But I am definitely (already) satisfied with the year. If we can stay close to the other two teams then we have a very good foundation for next season."

The only uncertainty in the BMW Sauber camp is who their second driver will be next year, with Theissen hinting he may wait until the end of the season before deciding if Nick Heidfeld has overcome his qualifying difficulties to secure a new contract.

"We will hold back on a decision. By the end of this season we should know what we want to do for next season."

When asked about he wanted Heidfeld to do, Theissen said: "Get back to his normal form. Which I expect he will."

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