Guest Author - Christine Blachford
On paper, BMW had a brilliant year. Their only goal from the outset of the 2008 season was to win a race, and they achieved this about halfway through. The only problem with this is that once this objective had been met, the team seemed to tail off their enthusiasm slightly, presumably concentrating on 2009.
Boss Mario Theissen always maintained that there was a plan set in stone and they were following it to the letter, and so far meeting all their targets. Maiden winner Robert Kubica wasn't happy about this, though and wanted to keep pushing, making the most of the momentum they had gained. He managed to remain in contention for the driver's title until just a few races from the end, but this was without the support of his team.
It's one of the first signs of frustration we've seen out of what has been a rock solid team. BMW is known for their consistency and Heidfeld is usually to be found crossing the line fourth or fifth. For his part, Heidfeld must have been particularly irritated that he couldn't get the debut win for his team. I tend to forget that he has been in F1 for a relatively long time, especially compared to his team mate. Although he picked up second place behind Kubica, you could tell he wasn't happy with it. We didn't hear much from him, though, when Kubica began to complain. Heidfeld keeps himself to himself and gets the job done.
For next year, BMW have already shocked the world with their 2009 spec wings. At recent tests, they debuted an example of what next season will look like with the obnoxiously high rear wing and flat, boxy front wing. They have also been working on their KERS package, and have made good progress since the incident where a mechanic received a shock. It doesn't seem likely that BMW will be able to make that next step to being a real championship contender next year, more that they will continue to be a nuisance to the top racers. However, if McLaren or Ferrari make the smallest mistake in their 2009 preparations, it could be BMWs year. I'd be very happy to see them on the podium more often.