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BMW plan major step for 2008

BMW-Sauber boss Mario Theissen says the squad will need to take a 'conceptual leap' before they can challenge McLaren and Ferrari on equal terms

The team have occupied a comfortable third place behind the title rivals throughout the 2007 season, but Theissen believes BMW have now got as close to the leaders as they can with their present car.

He said the team are already devoting half their resources to next season.

"We need to do another big step regarding our competitiveness," Theissen said.

"During a season, you mainly build on the concept of a car, so this is rather a development of what you have, not a conceptual leap.

"We have seen this year that we can keep the gap to McLaren and Ferrari roughly the same, so our pace of development must be the same. That is quite an achievement for a team which is still growing.

"Now, the further step in order to join the top teams at the front can only be done by a conceptual leap, meaning by a new car.

"Right now, we work with more that 50 percent of our capacities on the BMW-Sauber F1.08 already."

Theissen is confident that BMW have the resources in place to take the next step forward.

"It is true that with our current line-up we have all the keys in our hands to get to the top of Formula One racing, and that is reflected by our successes that we could achieve in a relatively short period of time," he said.

"I am very happy with the constellation, we are within our time frame and we are ready to do the next step."

With six races remaining in the 2007 season, BMW have all but secured third place in the constructors' championship. They currently have a 38-point margin over nearest rivals Renault.

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