BMW Sauber say they are ready to wait for former world champion Fernando Alonso to make his mind up about where he wants to drive next year - after reminding the Spaniard that they are the fastest team in Formula One with a seat still available.
Ferrari's decision to extend Kimi Raikkonen's contract until the end of 2010 has ended Alonso's hopes of racing for the Italian team in the next two years, and makes him more amenable to making a long-term commitment elsewhere.
Alonso has said that he wants to get back in a race-winning car next year and, with an exit clause in his Renault contract, Honda Racing and BMW Sauber are the main options for him if he decides to move on.
BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen had been previously thought to be reluctant to sign Alonso in the wake of the problems he endured at McLaren last year, but has hinted that the double world champion is now a factor in their driver plans for 2009.
"There are several people and a few teams who have to make a decision - it is just not necessarily a joint decision," said Theissen, when asked if he was waiting for Alonso.
"We are still evaluating the situation and it is apparent we are the strongest team now which has an open seat for next year, so we will see what happens."
Theissen said that the Raikkonen contract extension at Ferrari would have little impact in his plans, as he stated it was just "one piece in a big jigsaw, nothing more."
When asked by autosport.com if he was interested in Alonso in spite of what happened at McLaren, Theissen said: "I am interested in fast drivers generally, but I would prefer not to comment now on individual drivers because we are evaluating it and I would prefer to talk to you when we have a decision."
Theissen also rubbished wild rumours this week that BMW Sauber would make an announcement about their driver plans on Monday, stating that they could wait until the end of the season before deciding their 2009 line-up.
"We have delayed the decision and it will probably not happen until the end of this season," he said. "We want to have a decision by the end of the season. But you can stay in bed Monday morning, nothing will happen."