BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen thinks it too early to say if his team are ready to take the fight to McLaren and Ferrari just yet, despite their strong showing in the Australian Grand Prix.
Robert Kubica just missed out on pole position in Melbourne, with Nick Heidfeld taking second place to equal the team's best ever result.
But despite being McLaren's main threat at the first race of the season, Theissen still feels that it will take some time to work out where his team stand.
When asked by autosport.com if he felt there was now a three-way fight at the front between McLaren, Ferrari and BMW Sauber, he said: "Not yet.
"I think Ferrari can do a lot better than they showed last weekend, because everything went wrong for them. I expect them to be stronger in Sepang and they might win.
"For us, it is important to keep contact to the top teams and then work through things. We need to optimise our car step-by-step and then at some point this season I am confident we will be there."
Theissen believes the key to his team's chances of success will be in matching the development rates of the top two teams.
"It is a big challenge, but given the progress we have made in the last six to eight weeks I am confident we can keep the pace of development up," he said.
"We had a very encouraging weekend in Australia. We had an exceptional qualifying and we saw in the race that Robert was only two laps shorter than (Lewis) Hamilton, so it was a real performance. I think everybody, also Robert, can take a lot of positive motivation away from this weekend."
And Theissen admits he is also keeping on eye on the performance of Williams, with Nico Rosberg putting in an impressive display to score his maiden podium finish.
"Especially Nico, they (Williams) did a great job. And it was almost equal performance (with BMW) today."
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