New shocker in the Formula One scene – BMW has announced that it will be exiting F1 at the end of 2009, after a 3 year run in the team’s current incarnation, the BMW Sauber F1 team. In the middle of 2005, BMW acquired the Swiss team Sauber and took to the starting grid under the team’s new name.
“Unfortunately, we were unable to meet expectations in the current season. Nevertheless, our ten years of Formula One experience have had a major impact on our development engineers. We have racing to thank for numerous technological innovations as well as the competitive spirit that drives us to develop mass-produced cars,” said board member Dr. Klaus Draeger.
NEW VIDEO: BMW withdraws from F1
“The main reason for this decision was not our current performance in Formula One racing or the general economic situation. It was solely the company’s strategic realignment. Premium will increasingly be defined in terms of sustainability and environmental compatibility. This is an area in which we want to remain in the lead. In line with our Strategy Number ONE, we are continually reviewing all projects and initiatives to check them for future viability and sustainability. Our Formula One campaign is thus less a key promoter for us. Mario Theissen has been in charge of our motor sports program since 1999. We have scored a large number of successes in this period, including some in Formula One racing. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mario Theissen and his team for this,” said chairman Dr. Norbert Reithofer.
Looks like the green movement killed yet another Formula One team, as similiar reasons were given by Honda when it decided to exit the sport. BMW will continue to participate in other sports like the ALMS, and of course, Formula BMW. These activities will continue to be supervised by Mario Theissen. The focus in the future will be more on programs like Efficient Dynamics.
I’m not sure what’s going to happen to the team. Perhaps someone will buy them over, and one man rumoured to possibly step in and take over the team is Peter Sauber, the man whose name is the other half of the team’s name. Whatever it is, BMW will work to find solutions for all current F1 employees, and someone else taking over is definitely one of them. Our national oil company Petronas could continue their F1 sponsorship with this new team and their new owners, if they choose to remain in the sport.