LONDON - BMW Sauber's lead in the Formula One championship for the first time last weekend is the first step in their bid to break the Ferrari-McLaren stranglehold on the sport.
Team boss Mario Theissen hoped the next Spanish Grand Prix would see further progress for his team, whose main target is a first race win this season.
Champions Ferrari and McLaren have between them won the past 21 races.
"The next step will be Barcelona and we have a chance to test there before and every team will have a development package there," Theissen said after Sunday's Bahrain Grand Prix.
"It could change the pecking order, depending on how strong the development packages are. We have quite a significant package on the aero side as well as on the chassis side."
BMW Sauber had their best weekend yet in Bahrain, with Poland's Robert Kubica securing his and the team's first pole position before taking their third podium finish in three races. They had no technical problems and Kubica was not far off the Ferrari duo at the end of the race. Germany's Nick Heidfeld finished fourth, allowing BMW Sauber to take the overall lead by one point ahead of champions Ferrari. McLaren were a further point behind.
"The performance potential of the car is way higher than last year's car and the more you go to the limit, the more difficult it is to fully exploit that potential and fine-tune the package so that it works in all conditions," said Theissen.
"That is a process we had to learn after the launch and the process is not finished yet."
McLaren team boss Ron Dennis refused to accept that BMW could become a consistent title threat.
"They're doing a better job than they've done at any other time in Formula One but when we get to Europe is where the R&D and speed of manufacture really starts to make a difference. We'll be very strong. I'm not worried." - Reuters