BMW Power – 10 years in Formula One

3 Series | November 2nd, 2009 by 4
17 years after winning the World Championship in 1983, BMW returned to Formula One as an engine supplier. The BMW WilliamsF1 Team celebrated ten victories, 17 pole positions and 45 podium finishes between 2000 and 2005. In 2005 BMW acquired the majority share in the Swiss Sauber AG and sent its own team into battle for the first time the following year.

To date the BMW Sauber F1 Team has 304 World Championship points to its name. In 2008 Robert Kubica claimed the teams maiden pole position in Bahrain, while the 24-year-old and his team-mate Nick Heidfeld achieved a magnificent one-two at the Canadian Grand Prix in the same year.

In 2007 and 2008, BMW Sauber team scored the second and third place in the Teams World Championship. With sadness, BMW exists the Formula 1 championship at the end of this season leaving the impression that more could have been achieved.


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.

4 responses to “BMW Power – 10 years in Formula One”

  1. Auday says:

    A sad day indeed… F1 will not be the same for me without BMW or BMW engines.

    Regardless of all reasons given like the politics in F1 and BMW change of direction, I think the main reason was the embarrassment of the KERS saga in which BMW insisted to keep it for 2009 against the wish of all other teams then shamefully dropped it before mid season.
    With BMW focusing so much on energy recovery in their road prodution cars this would have given a bad indication of how good this is going, and I think this made Munich managers very upset with the team and decided to kill it.

    F1 is passing through bad days, but the future will be better and I’m sure if BMW stayed they would have scored the championship in a year or two. But they seem to be very systematic about their business affairs and wouldn’t like to take risks at all. Shame!

    • Matt Stokes says:

      I disagree. It all started with the double diffusers… BMW didn’t have one, they could not easily integrate one because it interferred with the packaging of the KERS system in the bodyshell, hence it took so long to redesign everything. It meant compromising the design and set the cars development back severley. The KERS itself, though not the best on the grid, did the job suitably for Nick, but would only have compromised Kubica, so ANOTHER redesign to build a super light car for Robert..

      .. the overiding factor though, is that they built a duff car, it could never get it’s tyre’s to temperature and it lacked outright pace. This would probably have led to an average season next year too… so that would be $400,000,000 to $500,000,000 down the toilet for both seasons…. BMW would have to be retarded to commit to that kind of expenditure in the current economic climate.. I’d rather they spent that money on improving their road cars and introducing new models (an M1 for instance)

      I’m not sad they’re out of F1, it’s becoming a Joke with all it’s petty squabbles, reduced technology levels and severe lack of quality on track racing. Seriously – I much prefer NASCAR even to F1 these days.

  2. wazon says:

    I will miss them in F1, but I’m not especially sad about their leaving it. After all, it led them to save huge amount of money on projects connected with WTCC and LeMans which have much bigger influence on regular street cars than developements in current F1 with its regularities.

  3. _Auday_ says:

    Matt, I see your point, however Mclaren and Ferrari were on the same boat (no double diffuser and with KERS), so I dont see why Kers had anything to do with the delay in the D-Diffuser package, plus KERS sits closer to the middle of the car the diffusers are at the end. Unless if you mean the use of KERS eliminated the chance of using ballast and that affected the D-Diffuser. Regardless, Mclaren and Ferrari both bounced back quickly and kept KERS, so I dont see why BMW is in disadvantage there.

    As for wasting mony on F1, yes F1 is costly, but it pays off. First the income from points and wins, the TV rights revenue shares (Concord agreement), and most importantly sponsors who cover most of the expensis (you dont think Ferrari pays for F1 from their road cars sales income, do you?).
    Cost is absolutly not the reason, it’s more of BMW being scared of negative reputation and probably the instable and frequently and unpredictable changing world of F1 didnt fit well with thier German systematic micro planing.

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