BMW will exit Formula One at the end of the 2009 season
The BMW Group will not continue its Formula One campaign after the end of the 2009 season.
BMW says the resources that will be freed up will go into the development of new drive technologies and projects in the field of sustainability.
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.
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 10 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.”
BMW will continue its programs in a few other motor sports series: the touring car series and young driver promotion program in Formula BMW, the American Le Mans Series, endurance races and close-to-production customer sports. Plus, BMW Motorrad Motorsport will continue its campaigns, including the super bike world championship.
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.