Nick Heidfeld is hoping a new aerodynamic package to be introduced at the Spanish Grand Prix will help his BMW Sauber team take a step forward after a poor showing in qualifying in China.
Neither Heidfeld nor team-mate Robert Kubica were able to make it into the top 10 for the Shanghai race, with the German missing the cut by just 0.010 seconds.
Heidfeld admitted, however, that his car is lacking pace and he is pinning his hopes of moving forward on the next aero update to be introduced at the start of the European season.
"My first and quickest lap in Q2 was the best I could get out of the car, and it was a really good one," said Heidfeld. "I was hoping to get an even better lap time on the second run just because the track conditions always improve during qualifying.
"But then for some reason with that set of Option tyres the grip wasn't there. We have to find out why that was.
"I missed the top ten qualifying by just one hundredth of a second, but nevertheless it is obvious we have a lack of pace. We hope an aerodynamic update, which will come for the Spanish Grand Prix, will help us.
"For now we have to get the most out of the situation and for tomorrow there is a chance for rain which would be great. We will think carefully about our race strategy now. As I'm out of the top ten I'm free to choose my fuel load."
Kubica, who failed to make it past Q1 for the first time, also struggled with the handling of his car.
"The car had no grip and was not at all easy to drive," said Kubica. "I struggled with the softer tyre compound. After this morning's session I didn't expect this at all, as the gap between softer and harder tyres was bigger then. Additionally I made a mistake braking in turn 12 which cost me my lap time."