Nick Heidfeld believes he and BMW Sauber teammate Robert Kubica are going to have to wait until the Singapore Grand Prix before seeing a major upturn in the pace of their car.
The F1.09 has failed to live up to pre-season expectations of being a world championship contender, with Heidfeld and Kubica only able to score eight points so far this year. Although the team has vowed to keep pushing on with the development of the car, rather than switch the focus onto its 2010 challenger, Heidfeld thinks there is little chance of a return to front-running form for a few races yet.
Speaking at the Hungaroring on Thursday, Heidfeld said he did not expect BMW Sauber to follow the lead set by Ferrari and McLaren, who appear to have recovered from their early season troubles.
"It looks like McLaren has made a big step, especially judging by the last race," said Heidfeld. "Ferrari had made a big step a couple of races ago. We made a big step at Barcelona, and since then it is a bit up and down.
"I hope that we will get to a stage where we also made a big leap forward. And I hope this might be the case in Singapore, where we expect a lot of new things – and I hope that will move us forward. But until then, we have another package in Valencia, but my hopes are more for Singapore."
When suggested that would mean quite a lot of waiting, Heidfeld said: "Yes, it is too long. But there is nothing we can do now. So there is no more to say."
BMW Sauber is running a new front wing in Hungary this weekend, and Heidfeld is hoping that the warmer temperatures will help the team's performance.
"I think from a tire perspective it should suit the car better. Sometimes we are in a similar condition to the Brawn – just with the fact that the car is slower anyway. So we hope we will get the tires working here. The circuit itself doesn't suit the car ideally, if we look back to where we were at some other slow tracks. But on the other side since then, the car has changed quite a lot. I hope it suits the car for the tires, and for the rest we will see.
"As we knew already a couple of weeks ago, we don't have a lot of updates here. The next big one is planned for Valencia, but we have a new front wing here – which is good as it was not planned. We also have some other minor updates."