Nick Heidfeld says he does not expect BMW-Sauber to produce a race-winning car for next year.
“It is naturally our goal to win,” the 29-year-old, unusually sporting a full beard at the Valencia circuit for the ‘World Finals’ formula BMW event last weekend, said.
“But we do not expect that yet even though we are going in the right direction. For 2007 we have high expectations but we also know formula one well enough to realise that you don’t become world champion in one year or two.
“You don’t win just because you put a BMW sticker on the car.”
BMW, having acquired Peter Sauber’s Swiss-based team in late 2005, finished this year’s constructors’ world champion in fifth.
Heidfeld, to resume testing at Barcelona this week, says it was a good result, and thinks the personnel and driver movements elsewhere in pitlane could work in BMW’s favour.
But he warned: “Today’s formula one is unlike the past, when only three teams were capable of winning. There are no more small teams.
“We are going to improve even more, but I would be content if we rose by one place to finish fourth (in 2007).”