German car manufacturer BMW has announced that its Formula One team will be sold to Qadbak Investments Ltd, a foundation based in Switzerland "which represents the interests of certain Middle East and European based families," indicated a statement issued on Tuesday.
BMW confirmed its intention of leaving Formula One at the end of the current season, the Hinwil-based BMW Sauber operation had been searching for a strong investor to carry the team's ambitions.
The purchase agreement was signed earlier today; no details were given on the amount of the transaction nor on its engine supplier. The BMW Sauber statement indicated that "Qadbak's interest in the team will be represented by Lionel Fischer, a Swiss national."
The confirmation of BMW Sauber's new ownership arrived on the same day the FIA announced that the 13th and last entry in the 2010 championship had been awarded to the Lotus F1 Team owned by a company known as 1Malaysia F1 Team.
However there is hope that the BMW Sauber-Qadbak operation will nonetheless find its place on the grid with the FIA's support, since it has awarded the team a '14th place' in next year's championship in the event a vacancy opens up.
But such a scenario may not be necessary according to a statement from the sport's governing body: "The FIA believes that a good case can be made for expanding the grid to 14 teams. The FIA will be consulting urgently with the existing teams regarding the introduction of an appropriate rule change to expand the grid to 28 cars in time for the first Grand Prix in 2010."
A Formula One championship has not seen a field of 13 teams since the 1995 season; there were 14 teams competing the year before.