Can You Read BMW Sauber's Poker Face?

Antony HerbertAnalyst IIIMarch 20, 2010

SAKIR, BAHRAIN - MARCH 14:  Kamui Kobayashi of Japan and BMW Sauber drives during the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit on March 14, 2010 in Sakir, Bahrain.  (Photo by Paul Gilham/Getty Images)
Paul Gilham/Getty Images

With an increased field of twenty-four, the risk of becoming a nonentity in the world of Formula 1 is greatly enhanced. If you do not show your best hand early on then there may be little room for recognition to come your way later on.

What the opener in Bahrain portrayed was the predictable lack of pace by Lotus, Hispania and Virgin. It also showed the domination at the forefront of the big four: Mercedes, Mclaren, Ferrari and Red Bull. These were expected though, with the bottom three teams looking to close the gap as the season progresses.

So it falls to the teams in the middle, which have the most to lose or gain in credibility. These are the teams who can go either way.

Toro Rosso have fallen straight back into being the weakest paced of the crop of 2009. This again was expected, with both drivers already lacking in support.

Then you have Renault, Force India and Williams who all looked promising in their first race abilities. All three will look to score a few points in upcoming Grand Prix and hope to challenge the big four by the end of the season.

Robert Kubica must have smelled the possible podiums he could seize as he sat right behind the four front teams on the grid.

The poker face held in pre-season testing by the twelfth team however is the one that has come undone.

BMW Sauber failed to flatter their confident whispers of speed and determination before the season got underway, with a display in Bahrain that was instantly forgettable. The teams drivers Pedro De la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi provided little that was worthy of note.

For two drivers who can both be considered as relatively unknown talents this is definitely worrying.

De La Rosa was rarely afforded a continuing chance in a race seat, despite often showing signs of excellence.

Kobayashi as well gifted us the emergence of a reckless yet vastly quick rookie in his two Grand Prix at Toyota. Much of this was regarded as a revelation from his easier adaptability to the Toyota team and as a result he may have set himself up as nothing more than a flash in the pan.

Compared to other less capable drivers in recent years, both drivers do however deserve more.

Sauber it has to be said have previously portrayed an all to consistent view of a team who could never fulfil early promise. More often than not they just fell backwards throughout seasons. Consequentially they never brought themselves fearsome competitive status. Other teams expected to eventually overtake them.

So after the lack of performance in event number one, Sauber now need to subvert previous history by forcing themselves up the field. They are given the requirement of affording their drivers a more deserving machine that will allow both De la Rosa and Kobayashi to take more ownership of their results.

Constant midfield positions out of the points after all could do much harm to their future seasons.

For De la Rosa these chances will already be less forthcoming due to his age, but for Kobayashi, in being young in his career his first full season is essentially going to be one of his most important. Teams will not take on a driver year after year if his first season was just decidedly average.

His financial rewards may therefore provide an alternative attraction for teams to take him on, something that the Formula 1 neutral does not appreciate.

It may just be that De la Rosa and Kobayashi only need to adapt themselves to the car in a way that edges out the optimum performance. Yet if the team can work well in their quest to gain at least points finishes then they will improve more than others as the season moves along.

A good poker face is essentially one that can conclude in actual productivity. It should never be one that can only mask the depressing failures of the player in every game.
Therefore the return of Sauber in not being fruitful, could spell the end of the outfit once more.