BMW Sauber's chances of another strong showing in this weekend's Italian Grand Prix will depend on how well its car can work with its tyres, claims team principal Mario Theissen.
The Swiss-based operation delivered its best points haul of the season at the Belgian GP last month with a fourth and fifth place finish and, with similar low-downforce demands at Monza, hopes are high of another decent result this time out. Theissen believes, however, that the progress that the team has made in improving its F1.09 may not be enough if it struggles to get its tires into the right operating window - as has been a factor at some races this year.
"The car should be OK," Theissen told AUTOSPORT. "It will be the low-downforce settings, so we should be competitive. But the tire situation is open."
Theissen has pinpointed the step forward the team enjoyed in Belgium to new aero parts that were brought onto its car for the European Grand Prix.
"The development package that we brought to Valencia apparently worked very well, especially in Belgium with the medium downforce setting," he said. "We were also helped partly by the ability to exploit the tire performance at Spa, which obviously did not work for all the teams."
Robert Kubica thinks that work is needed on getting to the bottom of why the team was not as good with its tires in the Belgian race as it had been in qualifying.
"Belgium showed that our car is more competitive on lower downforce tracks, so that is a good thing going to Monza," he explained. "But in qualifying we were much more competitive than in the race, and the car definitely felt better on the Saturday, so we need to find out what happened."
The Spa result also provided a boost to the team's chances of finding a buyer, in the wake of BMW's decision to leave F1 at the end of the year.
When asked about how much the Spa performance helped matters, Theissen said: "It certainly doesn't damage our chances. Maybe we can talk more about progress in Monza."