BMW confirmed this morning that they are to leave Formula One at the end of the season stating that the resources ‘freed up’ from its exit from the sport will be deployed in other areas. The German car maker took over the Sauber team in 2006 and has since gone on to record one victory.
“Of course, we, the employees in Hinwil and Munich, would all have liked to continue this ambitious campaign and show that this season was just a hiccup following three successful years,” said BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. “But I can understand why this decision was made from a corporate perspective. We will now focus sharply on the remaining races and demonstrate our fighting spirit and put in a good result as we bid farewell to Formula One racing.”
The current season has been a struggle for the Hinwil-based team with Nick Heidfeld
and Robert Kubica 13th and 15th in the championship respectively.
The team had expected to challenge for the championship this year having recorded its first win with Kubica behind the wheel last year in Montreal.
However the F1.09 has not proved competitive and despite the various aerodynamic updates, remains one of the slower cars in the field.
“It only took us three years to establish ourselves as a top team with the BMW Sauber F1 Team,” began Board of Management member Dr. Klaus Draeger. “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.”
The team stated that redundancies at both Hinwil and Munich “cannot be quantified at present.”
It is expected that the signing of the long-awaited Concorde Agreement, the legal document that ties the teams with the sport’s governing body and the commercial rights holder, will be completed shortly.
However, this makes the coming days critical for the sport as rumours persist that BMW may not be the only car-maker looking at its option before agreeing to remain in the sport until the end of the 2012 season.
Ongoing speculation suggests that both Toyota and Renault are considering their future in the sport, speculation that will only be heightened by BMW’s surprise announcement today.