Happy end to the last race for the BMW Sauber F1 Team: After a great race, Nick Heidfeld finished the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in fifth. With these four points the team was able to move up one place in the constructors’ championship and overtake Williams to finish sixth. Robert Kubica was also on the way to score a championship point before he spun in a battle with Sébastien Buemi.
As a thank you for Nick Heidfeld’s seven years of great commitment to the team in Hinwil Peter Sauber is giving him a Formula One car from this era. The 2009 season’s finale also marks the last Formula One race for BMW after the company’s decision at the end of July to pull out of this sport. In the team’s four year history the BMW Sauber F1 Team collected 308 world championship points, one pole position and 17 podiums, including one win. (The following pages outline a timeline of the team’s achievements.)
Nick Heidfeld: 5th
BMW Sauber F1.09-07 / BMW P86/9
Fastest lap: 1:40.672 min on lap 54 (7th fastest overall)
“I am very happy with my fifth place. It was a good race in which I was able to get the maximum out of the car and score four points, which was enough to reach our target for the end of the season to overtake Williams in the constructors’ championship. After I have been a little unlucky in recent races, this time I was really able to exploit the car’s potential. For quite a long period I was able to go at the same speed as the world champion’s car, the Brawn. The strategy to go for a rather long stint paid off and the track was even more fun when it had more rubber on it. It is a pleasing end to our last season together. It now becomes very emotional. During the last laps I had to pull myself together in order to keep my concentration.”
Robert Kubica: 10th
BMW Sauber F1.09-08 / BMW P86/9
Fastest lap: 1:40.924 min on lap 54 (14th fastest overall)
“I lost the race in the second stint when I was very slow, while in the first stint I was able to go at quite a good pace, similar to Rubens. The car was working very well. After changing tyres I had no grip at all. The track was getting quicker and I just could not go at the pace of the other drivers. This was very strange. My fight with Sébastien Buemi was quite tough and a bit dangerous. We nearly touched when braking into the chicane. He first moved to the left and blocked the inside of the left hander. When I moved to the right he pushed me over the high inside kerb of the right hander section of the chicane and I spun. He did not leave any space at all. Thanks a lot to the team for the last four years. I hope to meet them back on the grid next year.”
Mario Theissen (BMW Motorsport Director):
“That was once again a strong weekend for our team in the season´s finale. Starting from eighth Nick consistently moved up to fifth thanks to a very good performance. Robert was unlucky three times during the race: After each pit stop he came back on the track behind a slower car, and due to the collision with Buemi he lost one position. But the most important point is that with today´s result we gained another place in the constructors’ championship. So we ended a very tough season with some strong results. A big thank you goes to the whole team – both here at the track as well as in Munich and Hinwil.”
Willy Rampf (Head of Engineering):
“Our goal today was to score three points more than Williams and overtake them in the constructors’ championship. This goal was achieved thanks to Nick’s great drive and his fifth place. The race was very interesting from a strategic point of view because a one stopper was exactly as quick as two. Therefore the decisive part was at the second pit stop where it was decided who was in front of who. The race was so close today, so it was an absolute must not to make any mistake at all. I want to express my respect for the team in Munich and Hinwil who never lost motivation and continued to push very hard. They all did a fantastic job and deserve this result.”
Abu Dhabi, 1st November 2009
BMW says thank you –
to its partners for their backing,
to the fans for their enthusiastic support,
to its rivals for their respect,
to the drivers for their sheer focus,
to the team for its collective achievement,
and to the media for their fairness.
16th/17th January 2006: The BMW Sauber F1 Team presents itself to the public in Valencia. The BMW Sauber F1.06 has its first track outing. The team drivers are Nick Heidfeld (DE) and Jacques Villeneuve (CA), the test and reserve driver is Robert Kubica (PL).
12th March 2006: The BMW Sauber F1 Team lines up in Bahrain for its first GP.
19th March 2006: The team wins its first World Championship points in the second race of the season when Villeneuve finishes seventh in Malaysia.
2nd April 2006: The third GP sees both drivers finish in the points for the first time. In Australia Heidfeld is fourth, Villeneuve sixth.
6th August 2006: Heidfeld takes the first podium place in the team’s 13th World Championship race. Kubica runs his first Formula One race in Budapest.
25th August 2006: Sebastian Vettel (DE/19) is made Friday driver in the third F1.06 with immediate effect.
October 2006: The wind tunnel in Hinwil runs on three shifts. A year previously it had been on one daily shift.
22nd October 2006: The BMW Sauber F1 Team ends its debut year in fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship (36 points).
16th January 2007: Presentation of the BMW Sauber F1.07 in Valencia. Heidfeld and Kubica continue as team drivers, Vettel remains reserve driver, Timo Glock (DE) is taken on as second test driver.
10th June 2007: In Canada Heidfeld earns the team’s first second-placed finish. Kubica survives a serious accident virtually unhurt.
17th June 2007: Vettel stands in for Kubica in Indianapolis and gains his first World Championship point.
21st October 2007: The BMW Sauber F1 Team concludes its second season with 101 points as the third-strongest team. Officially it is in second place (after disqualification of McLaren Mercedes).
End of 2007: The extension at Hinwil is ready for occupation and accommodates a workforce boosted by 150.
14th January 2008: The BMW Sauber F1.08 is unveiled at BMW Welt in Munich. Kubica and Heidfeld continue as the team drivers.
2nd February 2008: Christian Klien (AT) and Marko Asmer (EE) are announced as reserve driver and second test driver respectively.
23rd March 2008: Heidfeld records the team’s first fastest race lap in Malaysia.
5th April 2008: Kubica wins the BMW Sauber F1 Team’s first pole position in Bahrain.
6th April 2008: After the Bahrain Grand Prix – the third race of the season – the team leads the World Championship for the first time.
8th June 2008: Kubica crosses the line ahead of Heidfeld in Montreal to claim the first win for the BMW Sauber F1 Team in their 42nd GP. The Polish driver now leads the Drivers’ Championship.
2nd November 2008: After a mixed second half of the season, the team has 136 points and 11 podiums to place it third in the World Championship. The drivers conclude the season in 4th (Kubica) and 6th (Heidfeld) position.
20th January 2009: The F1.09 is unveiled in Valencia. Kubica, Heidfeld and Klien are on board once again. The economic recession makes for generally low-key presentations.
29th July 2009: The BMW Group announces its withdrawal from F1 at the end of the season. The freed-up resources are to flow into the development of new drive technologies and projects promoting sustainability.
15th September 2009: BMW AG announces the sale of the team to Qadbak Investments Ltd.
1st November 2009: The BMW Sauber F1 Team contests its 70th and final Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.
* The best results for the Sauber Team as a solo venture (1993-2005) were six third places.
* With Brabham, BMW took eight wins in the period 1982 to 1985. The final victory with the legendary turbo engine was in 1986 with Benetton. During the Williams era (2000 to 2005) the total was ten wins.
* In 1983 Nelson Piquet (Brabham BMW) won the Drivers’ Championship. Prior to the BMW Sauber F1 Team era, BMW had totalled 19 Grand Prix wins and 33 pole positions.