BMW Announces F1 Withdrawal

The board at BMW has today announced the company’s withdrawal from Formula 1 racing, effective at the end of the season.

There have been rumours for some time now that this or that F1 team was withdrawing, most frequently about Renault and Toyota and consistently denied by all parties. Announcements may yet prove forthcoming from other teams.

It is a shame that BMW-Sauber is the next team to jump. Just one season ago they were leading the World Championship. Many observers, including myself, believed at the time that had they not dropped the development of the 2008 car (in favour of the 2009 model) they would have had a good shot at winning either title by the end of the year. As it was, the regulation changes were so great the decision was made to attempt to steal a march on the field by switching development early.

It didn’t work. The 2009 car has not been competitive since the early part of the season and doesn’t seem to be improving relative to the competition, even if it has done so relative to where it was before. You would think they’d switch focus to the 2010 car, as is usual when performance falls short of expectation. That they are bailing out and that it was announced by the higher-ups of the company suggest this one was out of Mario Theissen’s control.

I think this is bigger than one underwhelming season, there has to be more to it than that. The announcement talked about changing their focus towards “sustainability and environmental compatibility”. F1 is not embracing this as much as it should be, with even the token-effort KERS looking like being withdrawn next season under FOTA proposals.

I’m sure the global economy, slow car sales, and of course the whole Mosely affair and the Ecclestone/Hitler comments did not help sell F1 to the board of a German company.

A shame. I always thought BMW-Sauber should have achieved much more than they did, and 2008 should have been the beginning of a competitive phase. It was not to be. Let’s hope a buyout can be arranged, either internally a la Brawn, or from elsewhere.

Hinwil is a top notch facility and the engines were produced in Munich. This is ideal as Hinwil shouldn’t have to be downscaled for any prospective buyer, all they need do is slot in an engine of their choice. Perhaps BMW could even be persuaded to supply engines to the team in 2010. All of this has yet to be decided.

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2 thoughts on “BMW Announces F1 Withdrawal”

  1. I’m not bothered TBH.These manufacturers, they come into F1 for the prestige and glamour, with big money and big ideas. Even if they get the right people and the right drivers, the board always interferes with their little plaything/pet project and failure becomes inevitable. The Manufacturer realises winning in F1 isn’t so easy and finds the first opportunity to pull out of the sport.The sport has never needed the manufacturers to survive and it is a folly to support them because they do not care about the fans – they only care for their image and their exposure. Once they get this, it is worthless to continue when they are not winning and so they use the economy as an excuse to leave. They do not care about things like loyalty to the fans, racing or the sport. They only care about branding, image and selling cars.BMW do not care one bit for the sport of F1 and will feed on their involvement and their single win for years to come. Like Honda, I doubt this would have happened if they looked like winning.

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