The announcement that BMW will leave the Formula 1 Championship at the end of this year has come as a shock to many BMW fans and not only. Many rumors and opinions have been thrown around on what could be the reasons why BMW decided to leave the F1 and BMW has tried to answer many of these questions during their press conference.
Just a few days back, the fellows at F1fanatic UK have compiled a list of plausible reasons behind BMW’s decision. Let’s have a glance at their analysis, but before that, we would like to enumerate the reasons we believed affected this decision: costs, disappointing results in 2009 and the loss of several key sponsors. It is encouraging though that BMW has no plans to entirely leave the Motorsport world and we’re hoping to see them involved even more in the future.
“BMW’s statement had much to say about their corporate strategy and implied reasons to do with environmentally-friendly technology were at the heart of their decision.
Norbert Reithofer’s explanation for BMW’s decision to leave F1 is predictably smothered in corporate jargon:
Everyone knows that the BMW brand embodies sportiness with sheer driving pleasure. Sportiness and fair competition are firmly encoded in our DNA. This is why we will remain loyal to motor sports. But we will do this in series that enable us to transfer technology more directly and to realise additional synergies, while strengthening our brand values. This is in our customers’ best interest.
One clear message is that despite leaving F1 they are not leaving motor racing:
BMW will continue to be actively involved in other motor sports series.
So why single out Formula 1?:
Premium [brands] 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.
The statement adds:
Resources freed up as a result are to be dedicated to the development of new drive technologies and projects in the field of sustainability.
In other words, F1 isn’t green enough. We shouldn’t be too quick to cynically dismiss the suggestion: BMW produces among the most efficient road cars in their classes and at the beginning of 2009 was the only remaining defender of KERS. Had the FIA’s scale of ambition for the system this year been greater, and had the other teams not decided to drop it for 2010, might things have been different?