Official: BMW leaves Formula 1 Championship

Racing | July 29th, 2009 by 15

Unfortunately, we were right: BMW AG decided to pull out of the Formula 1 Championship at the end of this year. Press Release The BMW …

Unfortunately, we were right: BMW AG decided to pull out of the Formula 1 Championship at the end of this year.

Press Release

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 yesterday.

“Of course, this was a difficult decision for us. But it’s a resolute step in view of our company’s strategic realignment,” explained Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “Premium will increasingly be defined in terms of sustainability and environmental compatibility.

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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. Mario Theissen has been in charge of our motor sports program since 1999. We have scored a large number of successes in this period, including some in Formula One racing. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mario Theissen and his team for this,” said Reithofer.

Dr. Klaus Draeger, the member of the Board of Management responsible for development, said: “It only took us three years to establish ourselves as a top team with the BMW Sauber F1 Team. 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.” Possible redundancies in Munich and Hinwil cannot be quantified at present. Says Draeger: “Since we only made this decision yesterday, we cannot provide any more precise information. We will develop and assess various scenarios and do our best to find a solution for the employees in Hinwil and the staff members involved in the Formula One project in Munich. We are aware of the responsibility we shoulder and will inform the staff as soon as we can make a clear statement.”

Says BMW Motorsport director Dr. Mario Theissen: “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. 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.”

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.

BMW looks back on a long track record of success in the field of motor sports:
BMW achieved eight Formula One victories from 1982 to 1985 with Brabham. In 1983, BMW won the driver’s championship with Nelson Piquet (Brabham BMW). The last win with the legendary turbo engine followed with Benetton in 1986. Ten victories were scored during the partnership with Williams (2000-2005). BMW had a total of 19 grand prix wins and 33 pole positions before the BMW Sauber F1 Team era.

In its debut season in 2006, the newly established BMW Sauber F1 Team 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. Polish-born Robert Kubica achieved the first and hitherto only GP victory in Canada on June 8, 2008. So far, the BMW Sauber F1 Team has taken one pole position (Kubica in Bahrain in 2008) and 16 podium finishes. The BMW Sauber F1 Team occupies the eighth spot in the manufacturer’s standings in the season presently underway.

[Source: BMW ]

15 responses to “Official: BMW leaves Formula 1 Championship”

  1. viper says:

    hell yeah , f1 is turning into really annoying shit these days…..its only a matter of time when f1 will fall apart

    • Lance says:

      correct move: in terms of financial and economic aspect: the company would benefit from the withdrawal. In terms of the investment in the sport: well, BMW hoped to advertise by producing good results, but this year, they have been so inferior that it is advertising their lack of capability. So do they really want to continue this negative advertsing? Obviously not.
      Involvement in Le Mans to dethrown Peugeot will prove BMW’s reliability and capability to produce good quality diesel engines. They can also try to produce the most efficient engine there and bring that technology to their road cars.

      So all in all, good move by BMW. Cut out on your weaknesses and invest in what you do best. But there is a point I have to raise. What happened to BMW Mototrsport? Why could such a big company that produces one of the most sporty road cars on our roads, with such rich motorsport history not be able to shine in F1, which is considered the highest level of Motorsport by some???

      • wazon says:

        What happen with Motorsport? Why cannot they shine in F1? Well, I think that answer is simple. Engines are best BMW and BMW Motorsport weapon. After rules have changed in F1, no team produces self designed engines. Istead of this they received already made engines and all they can do, is changing setting of engines provided by F1. Taking it into the consideration, no wonder that team which performace based on their own designed engines doesn’t achieve a lot.

        • Auday says:

          Wazon, Engine’s are still custom but they are freezed, so BMW’s engine is indeed designed and developed by BMW but cant change much on it.
          Engine is not the problem, BMW has one of the best anod most reliable engines. The problme is the new aero dynamics rules which BMW was working on earlier last year and therefore didnt develop their 2008 contender in the 2nd half of the season.
          So on paper BMW is supposed to be one of the best cars this year, especially that they have the best wind tunnel in the sport which is essential to get the aero right, but thing turned out ugly, partially because of the double diffuser saga (google it) which Brawn introduced and it was a trick around the rules, but FIA accepted it for some reason and that basically screwed up BMW and many other teams season. Aslo, BMW embarrassingly focused on KERS and was the only team that vetoed the postponing of KERS to 2010, yet their KERS wasn’t up to the standard of Ferrari’s and Mclaren.
          In general when the rules change dramatically, the tables turn, this has been the case in F1 since the 70s, some smart engineers figure it out before others, and big team use their money to catch up year after year. So one year off for BMW is not a problem really. but it seems that the management on the top level couldn’t through a heavy weight behined a sport governed by childesh behaviours and personal ego’s of people like Max Mosley an dI think I agree with them here (Although I’m still very disappointed).

  2. Bradley Wint says:

    Sad day…F1 is not what it used to be.

  3. Hantra says:

    I’m okay with this. BMW cars have gotten worse since BMW has been in F1. I doubt this will have an impact on that, but it can’t make things worse.

  4. _Auday_ says:

    one bad year and that’s it, they are out? Mercedes has been there since early 90s and they had lots of bad years, they didn’t withdraw?!

    how conservative could they be more than that? I wish someone would take the team and bring it back to top next year just like Brawn did with Honda and show corporate BMW that they need some spirit and motivation to win in the end not a bunch of accountants and corporate managers who probably never had oil in their hands.

    Sad day indeed… I’m very dissapointed

    • BMfan says:

      Auday, you may be right but imo its needless to dig into F1, so long as they are still in the other motorsports where close to production cars or production cars are used. Makes more sense to me.

      • _Auday_ says:

        yeah I hope they would.

        F1 is sinking into politics/business and it’s not the sport it’s used to be. However it’s still the most watched and best organized motorsport, and success in F1is the ultimate success in motorsport.

        I like the idea of production cars racing, but there needs to be a series where competitors push road legal cars to the level of F1 development. Something where modified versions of cars like Ferrari Enzo, Porsche GT, Koenggzigg, and Aston Martin one77 could compete in.
        No production number limits as long as the car is road legal, seats at least 2, uses road tires, and have limited fuel supply. This will push the development of super cars and will have direct influence on road cars.

    • Lance says:

      It’s about BMW not being part of BMW’s strategy. It doesn’tmake sense to invest so much in something that doesn’t fit the company’s mission, let alone not being good at F1. F1 just doesn’t make business sense – expensive, pointless, stupid regulations, losing viewers – F1 is just decreasing value for a company as an advertising media (and BMW is not doing well either, but that’s besides the point).

      I bet you that there will be more manufacturers following BMW’s move. This is the start of F1’s death.

  5. John Pham says:

    It’s perfectly fine for BMW to leave Formula 1. It is a very wise move indeed. Sure it may seem like a ‘wuss’ move, but its all in the interests of trying to retain financial stability as much as they can, especially in a time of economic instability.

    I doubt that they’re quitting F1 entirely on the fact that their performance is not up to scratch. BMW Sauber F1 only came in 2006. Over 2-3 year is managed to rank very highly right up to 2nd, 3rd and in 2008; they were even in the spotlight to claim Constructor championship.

    It won’t be long before other teams follow, F1 has just become so political, money-hungry and people; especially those in Europe are losing interest in it. There are better races in the FIA, why stay with F1. BMW should concentrate on other FIA races. They’re new M3 GT2 is slaughtering and claiming heaps of championships. Some of us may think BMW is rather crap when it comes to Motorsport racing; but actually take the time for yourself and look up all the FIA races BMW has competed in…it has been absolutely, insanely successful with the E30 320i, E46 M3 GTR and E92 M3 GT2.

    I think BMW should give a shot at the DTM against Opel and Mercedes-Benz. If BMW production cars can claim faster track times on the Nurburgring and Top Gear’s infamous Power Track; why not give it a shot at DTM?

  6. Nizer says:

    Don’t underestimate the impact of Bernie the Greedmeister’s decision to abandon North America. Honestly, how short-sighted can you be? Chuck the single most important market for BMW, Mercedes, Honda, Toyota, and Ferrari…

    Maybe BMW will step up with an LMP1 entry in ALMS. That would be cool.

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