Formula One loses BMW

(July 2009) Last December Honda made a strategic move to leave the famed Formula One race series;considering the economy and the need to redirect dollars (yen) to vehicle development to meet exacting new rules regarding mileage and CO2 in both the U.S, and European markets respectively.

This week BMW shocked the racing world as it followed Honda off the track of Formula One, pulling both its cars and engineering. The landmark decision came from Munich earlier this week. “The BMW Group will not continue its Formula One campaign after the end of the 2009 season. Resources freed up as a result are to be dedicated to the development of new drive technologies and projects in the field of sustainability. BMW will continue to be actively involved in other motor sports series. The landmark decision to restructure BMW Motorsport’s activities was made at the Board of Management’s meeting,” notes BMW in a press release.

“BMW will continue its programs in a number of motor sports series: BMW will appear on the starting grid in the touring car series and young driver promotion program in Formula BMW. This will be supplemented by BMW’s participation in ALMS, the American Le Mans Series, endurance races and close-to-production customer sports. Furthermore, BMW Motorrad Motorsport will continue its campaigns, with the super bike world championship leading the way,” says a BMW spokesperson.

BMW’s Formula One campaign this season has been fraught with disappointment which probably made the decision of the Board less painful. Since its debut season in 2006, the BMW Sauber F1 Team has consistently been a runner-up. In 2006 it wound up fifth in the constructor’s championship. In 2007, the German-Swiss team came in second after McLaren-Mercedes’ exclusion from the points standings.

The 2008 season saw the team in the hunt for the world championship until the end of the season, winding up third with Polish-born Robert Kubica winning the first and hitherto only GP victory in Canada on June 8, 2008.

The BMW Sauber F1 Team occupies the eighth spot in the manufacturer’s standings in the season presently underway.                                         

--- Ted Biederman