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Page last updated at 09:51 GMT, Monday, 6 October 2008 10:51 UK

Kubica and Heidfeld stay with BMW

Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld
Kubica and Heidfeld will be together for a third full season

BMW Sauber will stick with drivers Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld for 2009, ruling out the possibility of Fernando Alonso joining the team.

BMW were among the teams courting the Spanish double world champion but announced on Monday they would retain their current line up.

It leaves Alonso with the choice of staying at Renault or accepting an offer from struggling Honda.

A BMW statement said Kubica and Heidfeld was a "strong driver pairing".

"We are in no doubt that we will again achieve our ambitious aims with them in the team's fourth year," BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen said.

Austrian Christian Klien will also stay on as the team's test and reserve driver.

BMW had been considered one of the front-runners in the race to sign Alonso, and their decision to retain Heidfeld and Kubica will be the subject of much discussion at this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix.

606: DEBATE
Slicks-n-Wings

Kubica, who took his maiden Grand Prix victory in Canada in June, is regarded as a star of the future but Heidfeld is not considered in the same bracket.

Alonso, who ended a season's disappointment at Renault with victory in the Singapore Grand Prix last month, has said he will announce a decision on his future at the end of the season.

Renault had a difficult start to the year, with Alonso struggling even to get the car into the top 10 in qualifying, but have made progress in the second half of the season and are in a battle with Toyota to secure fourth place in the constructors' championship.

Ferrari and McLaren are battling for top spot, with BMW secure in third place.

There are three races remaining, with China following a week after Japan and the season closer in Brazil on 2 November.


see also
Ferrari keep Raikkonen until 2010
12 Sep 08 |  Formula One
Hamilton's old rival comes good in F1
08 Jun 08 |  Formula One


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