BMW F1 exit anouncement expected

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BMW's future in F1 is suddenly in doubt

BMW is expected to announce later today that it is quitting Formula 1, according to Autosport.

The site claims the German manufacturer will confirm the news at a press conference this afternoon attended by, among others, BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen.

Update: It’s official – more in the comments.

If true, the revelation would mimic the suddenness of Honda’s departure in December last year.

It would also bring to an end a decade of continuous involvement in F1 by BMW since returning to the support as an engine supplier to Williams in 2000.

It left Williams and took over Sauber in 2006 to form its own team. The company has poured significant investment into the sport, especially on its computational fluid dynamics supercomputer Albert II.

Struggling in 2009

Until this year, BMW’s F1 participation was a model of consistent progress towards success. It was second in the 2007 constructors’ championship (thanks in part to McLaren’s disqualification) and scored a breakthrough one-two in the Canadian Grand Prix last year.

The team has struggled enormously this year. Having been the only team supporting Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems as the season began, it quickly dropped the technology as the F1.09 struggled. Development work on the car has been slow – it was one of the last to adopt the double diffuser.

There have also been problems on the comercial side of its activities – the team lost its Credit Suisse sponsorship this year owing to the company’s credit crunch losses. It has not been able to find a replacement of similar value.

The consequences

BMW’s involvement in motor racing extends far beyond Formula 1. It runs the Formula BMW junior single seater champioship which unearthed such talent as Sebastian Vettel, and spawned an F1-supporting European class last year.

Its World Touring Car Championship team won four consecutives drivers titles with Andy Priaulx from 2004 to 2007 (the first as the European series). But the team has criticised the FIA’s governance of the championship which it feels has allowed the diesel-powered Seat cars unfair advantages.

It remains to be seen if the pull-out will be confirmed and how much of its motor racing portfolio will be affected.

It would also have an effect on the drivers’ market, with Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld suddenly up for grabs.

BMW have been supportive of the Formula 1 Teams’ Association but their withdrawal would surely be seen by Max Mosley as a vindication of his claims that further manufacturer pull-outs are possible.

More worryingly, BMW were not among the teams thought most likely to withdraw, which has usually included Renault and Toyota. It may prove too late for the teams that submitted entries for 2010 but were not accepted – such as Prodrive, Lola and N. Technology – to take their place.

Read more: BMW F1 team information

Author information

Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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170 comments on “BMW F1 exit anouncement expected”

  1. To pull out now on the verge of so many cost cuts, and guaranteed stability in the rules is foolish.

    In my eyes the makers of “The Perfect Driving Machine” will have failed in doing so!

    1. To pull out now on the verge of so many cost cuts, and guaranteed stability in the rules is foolish.

      They must have their reasons and excuses.

      The cost cuts are too little too late,and even now are still being argued over by the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’.

      I love the way that “guaranteed stability in the rules” gets wheeled out as if it is the answer to everyones prayers.;)

      Two down…..

    2. Isn’t it “The Ultimate Driving Machine?” ;)

      1. To be fair, a automaker that can make a good road car doesn’t automatically mean they can make a good F1 car. Road cars get millions of kilometers of testing, F1 cars get absolutely no testing throughout the year now.

        1. The sri lankan
          29th July 2009, 13:51

          yup…look at Toyota. love em or hate em they are the worlds most reliable car barand overall. and then look at their F1 efforts

  2. Kubica to McLaren?

    1. Indeed possible, but Luca and company will be just as ager to get him.

      1. Ferrari might be a 3 car team…

        1. I dont think Kubica has proved that he deserves another crack at the whip. let some young drivers come through

          1. You must be joking!

          2. He’s 22!

          3. The only season he ever had a proper car he was a title challenger! And seeing the mess that Massa and Hamilton got themselves into he could have won too if BMW had believed it themselves…

    2. The Kubiza buzz is over. He’s not that good. Get Rosberg in Mclaren and Sutil in Ferrari

      1. Oh please..

        1. I was joking

      2. Sutil doesn’t even have a buzz (unless he ate beans)

        Seriously though, Sutil has to be one of the worst drivers in F1 at the moment barring only Piquet and Nakajima.

        1. Sutil doesn’t even have a buzz (unless he ate beans)

          Oh, patrickl, that was a crude remark.

          Also very funny :)

          Keep it up, mate! :)

  3. and what will happen to Sauber?, back to “Sauber-Petronas” times?

  4. Hope theres time still for a new team

    1. Its stupid that the FIA didn’t pick new teams instead of BMW and Renault. It was obvious they’d drop out and now we’ll be back to a 20 car grid next season

      1. Brilliant! LOL

        You knew about this all the time then,even though both those teams had commited themselves to a future with FOTA ?

        How stupid of the FIA not to realise that some manufacturers could possibly leave the sport…What!?

        FOTA SMOTA..I can hear the bricks falling from here.

        1. I obviously didn’t know but they shouldn’t have been picked in the first place because they were all umming and arring about being in F1

          1. It wasn’t obvious they would drop out at all.

          2. Not obvious but likely. The said they’d leave if the budget cap went ahead.. it has and they have left

  5. my favourite team disappears… lets get audi in then.

    1. +1. Not a big fan of BMW off the track, but followed the team avidly. Heidfeld & Kubica to audi = dream.

    2. Mt sentiments exactly sato113…..I will miss my boy Nick.I don’t know if any of the teams see enough in him to give him a chance.He would make a hell of a test driver though.Unfortunately they don’t get much mileage anymore.

  6. Surely Volvo should add some speedy flair to their brand image with Volvo-Sauber F1!

    1. Hahaha..good one. Volvo is owned by Ford, and Ford is in a deep mess just now. The last time I heard, Ford was looking to offload Volvo to a Chinese car dont hope for Volvo in F1.

      I just hope somebody buys the team over. It would be a shame to loose another team. BMW should stick out this season and prepare for the next, the have the resources and experience to put out a good car. All their efforts will be wasted if they don’t stick around.

      If they really do leave, I suspect Prodrive will take their place..would be nice to see Aston Martin in F1!!

      1. Please Aston Martin :)

      2. Diden’t Ford sell Volvo in the past year or so? If I am correct, an Indian-owned company bought the majority share…..or I could be wrong on that one.

        1. ford did not sell volvo, the own it completly. They did sell Aston to a company based out of Dubi. It was Jaguar and Land Rover that were sold to indian TaTa Motors

      3. actually ford is not in a mess, tey are making great qualty cars and are decreasing their cash burn rate and getting rid of debt thanks to new CEO Allan Mulally.They are not looking to sell volvo and ford is one of the very few car compianes in the world that did not take a loan from their respective governments and are one one of the very few that will be profitable the near future

        Any way back on topic. Its sad to see BMW go but after all they were never really that good IMO. It would also be nice to see aston next year, but i am more pumed about USF1

    2. I like!!!

  7. Someone else could take over that team?

  8. But this is bad… they were never supposed to be one of the teams looking to withdraw…

  9. If this happens, I wonder what will happen with the drivers. I think Kubica will find a home somewhere in the paddock, maybe with Williams if Rosberg goes somewhere else. I fear it will be the end of the road for Quick Nick though.

    Maybe there will be another managment buyout of the team. I would like to see a Theissen GP on the grid. I would miss his mustache.

    1. Williams 4ever
      29th July 2009, 13:15

      Are you Robert Kubica? I am sure Dr. T will be happy to give you his moustache as Parting gift ;-)

  10. Other manufacturers will look at the reasons why BMW are pulling out and wonder if they should be doing the same.

    Both Renault and Toyota are looking for excuses to quit,and may now be thinking that perhaps F1 is a ‘privateers’ sport afterall.

    1. Realistically, Ferrari is the only mfg that has ever fielded a winning team. The other companies should just supply engines and let it go. Then maybe some of the privateers will come back and the cost will go down on its own.
      Mercedes, Bmw, Renault and Toyota should just supply engines along with whatever other engine companies want in and let the competitions start again. Take the restrictions off the motors and let them develope the heck out of the powerplants.

      1. Renault won twice as a constructor.

        1. @ Martin ,other than your theory is full of holes, i get the idea, and support it. i think costs should be brought down and technical restriction freed up. the budget cap issue is a nice idea as long as it can be fairly policed, and more importantly the Formula becomes more competitive in terms of innovation that would eventually filter to every day motoring even if a few years late.

  11. Very sad news, BMW is a passionate company but is badly affected by the economy.

    anyway would like to see Prodrive taking their place.

  12. i am surprised.

    i was going to end it there, but:
    it’s all unravelling now.

  13. People have to get into racing for the love of the sport or as we have seen in the past, they come and go quietly. It would be sorry to see them go but really not surprising.

    Real racers don’t care if they lose money, they are there to race.

  14. Peter Sauber could probably buy the team back for €1 and get a hundred million to do 2010, Brawn/Honda-style.

    Nick Heidfeld up for grabs…not sure anyone will be grabbing…

    1. Yeah, Nick is a good man and good driver, but you know Rubens will be available next year if anyone is looking for experience, and Nick dosen’t seem to have that Rosberg-style appeal to team bosses and such.

      But if Kubica is available, Heikki and maybe Kimi had better start thinking about their next team….

  15. This is why Max was right to push the Manufactures around, for this exact reason. F1 cannot survive on large bloated car manufactures and their bean counter boards.

  16. Given the state of things BMW may well, in light of their big spending on F1 verses poor performance in 2009 and perhaps more importantly poor sales (just guessing on that one), may have decided that F1 doesn’t have the cache it used to in the eyes of potential buyers. Certainly the FIA/FOTA spat has soured many people’s view of F1. I’ve watched F1 since 1982 and this year’s arguements were getting me down to the point where even I was willing to chuck in the towel. They may have taken into consideration no American exposure for the sport and more importantly for a German car maker, the very real possibility of no German GP from 2010 onwards because neither of the current promoters can afford the FOM fees. This is especially gauling as Max spouted off about financial armegeddon by the teams while Bernie jacked up the costs of running a race to the point where only governments and billionaires need apply. I was lucky enough to bump into Alan McNish at Luton airport a few weeks before Le Mans this year. Really nice guy. We had a good chat and the most revealing thing he said when I asked whether Audi would race the R15 in the LMS or Petit Le Mans after the big race was that the board would love to, but they were waiting to see what the sales figures were like. If they improved they’d be good to go. As there has been no annoucement to date I assume the Audi board saw no improvement in their situation. Additionally, he said to me Mercedes had the equivalent of 2 years worth of UK sales sitting in warehouses unsold! If sales have gone similarly for BMW they are certainly going to be under pressure to cut back on spending that gives little in the way of return on its investment. I think the lack of scope for applicable R&D as eluded to by Honda a month or so ago, is another factor that could make F1 a poor shadow of its stated aim of being the pinnacle of motorsport. If we end up with too many privateers we’ll be watching an international version of IRL. It would be a shame to see them go but I am sure that Sir Frank will have a knowing smile on his face should it come to pass that Mario Theissen, with the arrogance to think he could run an F1 team better than a man with forty years experience, must sit before the world and annouce the end of BMW as a constructor after a paltry 4 years.

    1. Crazy Horse
      29th July 2009, 17:45

      Certainly is refreshing to see a truly intelligent overview of the situation, from a perspective of insider understanding of F1.

  17. Damn max mosley & his cost cutting ideas

    1. This is what he was trying to prevent.

      1. No, I believe this sort of thing was exactly what Mosley was after. He’s never had any love for the manufacturers.

        Didja think Honda pulled out at the end of last year just because the fancy struck them? They knew KERS was coming in 2009 and not having any R&D to speak of for a RACING application, they knew thay’d get their butts beat. (They had no idea at the time that most of the teams would dump KERS so quickly.) And believe me, Honda may be good at building production hybrid cars, but that has nothing to do with the KERS that’s been used in F1 this year.

        Which brings me to the next point: Mosley rammed KERS through as a “green initiative”, mainly for the benefit of the motoring public. Yes, yes, I see that–the benefits of a system I can punch to get me away from the traffic signal more quickly, or let me pass another car on the freeway like a rocket–well, geez, yes, that F1 KERS was going to be a blessing to us consumers. (I DO hope my sarcasm here was noted. )

        Next point, BMW spent more than anyone else developing the KERS, and let the R&D on the rest of the car fall by the wayside, I’d say, to a great extent. Explains why they aren’t higher in the grid or the standings. They actually did much better last year.

        So. Mosley jams through a system that he knows will cost ALL the teams millions to develope, while at the same time demanding a budget cap to reduce spending in F1.

        Mosley knew damn-well what this would do. He was never trying to prevent any teams from having to leave. Contrarily, he was banking that this would in fact drive out some of the manufacturers, based on slumping car sales figures against what an F1 team costs yearly.

        And in truth, much as I have never liked Max Mosley (and I’ve been around F1 since 1956, long before he showed up), I have to hand it to him. He is a diabolically clever *******.

  18. Bartholomew
    29th July 2009, 3:10

    What a pity : BMW is a classy team, and also a serious company.I am saddened.
    They will be missed. Maybe they are also tired of all the politics and mayhem of the F1 business.
    I understand the final reason for leaving is that they simply cannot stand to look at the face of Lou´s submarine Todt “Newman”. That was just too much.

    Best wishes for BMW ! maybe they can race in North America, the biggest market for them.

    1. I do know the IRL is looking for another engine supplier for 2011. Have at it BMW.

      1. I think Robin Miller of SpeedTV here in the States did remark last yr that BMW was looking into the IRL. Of course, 365 days is an eternity in motorsports.

        1. In fact….

          Audi, BMW, Chevrolet, Fiat, Mazda and Volkswagen sent representatives to an IRL meeting to discuss the future specifications for Indy car powerplants. Of those attending, it seems the VW Group has the most to offer and the most to gain.

          Sadly, with the IRL engine spec change delayed until 2012, it appears BMW may have gotten cold feet:

          But despite the delay, carmakers as varied as Fiat, Audi, Porsche and Volkswagen are beginning to express interest in building to the new formula, which places emphasis on efficiency as well as power.
          I can only assume that the reporters wouldn’t neglect a huge manu.

          1. Robin Miller is one crazy old man. I bet he thinks engines should be moved back to the front, ban wings, and only allow Americans in the IRL. . .As an American myself, I could care less if Scott Dixon isnt from here. He is fast and fun to watch.

            The problem in Indycar is all the cars are basically the same which has made for some incredibly boring racing this year. They have made some small changes for the race this weekend, most notably the push to pass button, similar to the effects of KERS, but they need a second engine supplier at least.

            BMW would be great, but the economy sucks and we might just be stuck with what we have until automakers can pump more money into motorsports. Obviously it is hitting all forms racing.

            The series just needs to create more gimmicks because I am bored to tears seeing nothing but Penske and Ganassi winning every race with very little passing.

            And whats up with the F1 site with two paragraphs on how BMW thinks things can improve like they have for McLaren and it lacks a link to an actual article. Odd.

          2. Correction, there is link but the timing seems odd.


            We shall see.

  19. Renault and Toyota will be gone by the end of the year

  20. Didn’t the FOTA members guarantee participation until 2012? How does this impact that whole saga?

    1. I believe they did, but as far as I know they did not sign anything official. And with the Concorde set to be finished sometime this week or so, maybe BMW is jumping ship at the very last moment.

    2. FOTA members may have guaranteed,but just one boardroom meeting can change all of that.

  21. I amtruly saddened by this potential exit of BMW. I confess that the only car I ever owned was a used Bmw325E. Compared to later versions it was a dog. But Iworked , at the time at the top of a winding road, that I drove aty well above the nirmal speed and LOVED every minute of it. Going to work was a joy , as well as going home, needlw=ess to a=say.
    I v’e hoped BMWwould find sucess in F1, and was happy in regard to how well they did last year. The new rules this year, and the ddf quagmire short circuted them this year, but I continue to hope that the turn it around before the end of the season.greatly respect Mr. Theissen nad both thire drivers, and am hugely saddened by this possible departure from F1,

    How ever, I can understand BMW’s reasoning. The US market is in the tank. Berni’s Greed has closed off any exposure for them here, and the people that tended to buy their cars, hvae been hit financially, to the point that they are relying on BMW’s longevity, rather than thier annual upgrades and design tweeks. Hence, the parent company is quite right in deciding that this might not be the ideal forum of motor sport for them to persue at this time. Hopefully they will continue with the other series that they are involved in, and hopefully they will return to F1 with engines and KERS when the finances and rules are more realistic, relative to the economic climate .
    I will miss them a great deal, and am sad to see them leave, but I hope that they will return when things are better suited to their desires and needs to make it worth their while to compete. They brought a lot to F1 and I eagerly await their ruturn. hopefully after 2112. when CVC isn’t so greedy an Bernie Has his feet up at home, enjoying his grandchildren.
    BMW please don’t make this a perminent deal.

  22. After last year they had high expectations of this year. As a result they probably threw a lot of money into this season, more then they planned for. Not it backfired. They were probably realling hoping that KERS would work out, but it didn’t. It was a gamble and they lost.
    I can’t help but remember the first race of the season when Kubica and Vettel were fighting for 3rd. I thought BMW was going to be near the top often.
    I hope that Audi buys them and then slaps a Lambo engine it the cars! That would be sweet.
    I also hope Aston Martin or SAAB could get in there, maybe even bring Jaguar back.

  23. I suppose we’ll need to see what the announcement is, but no doubt it’s probably what we already know.

    The timing is something of a suprise- while we’re on the summer break, it’s still in the middle of the season. If the team really is pulling out, you need to wonder how motivated everyone will be for the rest of the current camapign, esp. if there is no buyer ready to take over.

    Looking at BMW, it’s clear that many of us expected Toyota or Renault to be the other manufacturers to leave, if any did. But BMW have been central to FOTA, and while it may seem like a small detail, they (along with Honda) were the most vocal about having a strong F1 presence in North America. As Bernie continues with his quest to eliminate Canada and the US from ever being on the F1 calendar under his watch, perhaps that was a factor in the deal.

    Lastly, I can’t help but think back to this race weekend, where I expected BMW to improve a little bit. Not only were they stuck in the back, but McLaren and Ferrari had obviously made big progress, while the blue and white cars were still way out of the points.

    1. yes, i agree with you when you say they picked a weird moment to announce their withdrawal. they have almost a month to improve their car, we all saw what mclaren did. there is no reason why BMW couldn’t do the same. this news came as a bit of a weird shock to me,cuz i had just read an article, i which mario said they’ll take heart from mclaren’s performance

      there wasn’t even a mention of withdrawal.
      by doing what they’ve done BMW have admitted failure. Mercedes is king of germany :) but i feel sorry for BMW & mario. Hope he doesn’t do what brawn did, name a team after himself, cuz i hold him in high regards.

      whether people here agree with me or not, what mercedes did & are continuing to do is the best thing for a manufacturer to do. see what happened to honda & now to BMW. these big manufacturers are better off supplying engines. for that to happen the current ‘engine freeze’ rule must be lifted.

  24. So many things happening simultaneously.

    Eletions, Accidents, Replacements, Suspension, and now an exit.

    Probably Mario will buy the outfit from BMW like Ross Brawn did. But, it is just wishful thinking, I feel.

    1. i bet you are happy!! aren’t you sumedh? i know you’ll be more happier if mclaren, renault & others pull out. so that you can enjoy your “favorite” team fighting it out with force india & toro rosso. oh! i feel so proud of you!!

  25. I assume that while BMW itself may be pulling out of F1, they have a fairly solid plan in place to sell the team off to Sauber or someone else. Otherwise, it would be awfully unkind to the team employees to not tell them before briefing the media.

    Remember, the first sign of Honda’s departure was the piles of CVs that other teams started getting from Brackley. None of the usual paddock gossips have mentioned anything of the sort.

  26. I shouldn’t be surprised and yet I am. For me this just vindicates the view that manufacturers cannot be relied upon for any future of F1. They have their place, but F1 must exist through independent teams (with or without manufacturer support). Anyway, that’s just my view.

    Now, for the future of the factory and its employees (though some of them at least are about to face unemployment but hopefully not all) I’m hoping that Prodrive step in, however I doubt they want to run their operation outside the UK.

    1. How about that Austrian team with Wurz as a manager who applied for a spot in 2010. championship? To them having swiss-based factory won’t be such a huge off-set.

  27. Keith, you put one hell of a tongue twister there …

    its “computionatonal” fluid dynamics supercomputer Albert II.

    I’m sure you mean Computational… quite funny to try to pronounce it though…

  28. Thanks Ronman – have fixed it.

  29. If the testing ban had not been in place they would probably have sorted the car better , most of the results we are seeing have been a result of the limited testing .
    whoever steps in to the ferrari will have no testing mileage of note which is making the sport look amatuerish.

  30. I can see them withdrawing from F1 for roughly the same reasons as Renault and Toyota, and from WTCC too, but I think the Formula BMW shouldn’t stop, and really just because they don’t run teams in F1 or WTCC doesn’t mean they cannot supply engines to one and cars to the other for independent teams.
    I am always under the impression that when the money-men in these organisations decide they cannot afford to continue, they cannot see that the consequences of a full withdrawal could be fatal to their international image…..

  31. OMG!!! I’m in SHOCK! I would have thought Toyota would go first. So is it going to be “Theissen GP” now?

    3 cars per team is looking more like a reality now!!!

    Kubica to Mclaren???
    Heidfield to Willimas???


    1. how bout Mario GP

      1. Taking some inspiration from Aguri Suzuki, how about Super Mario?


  33. They could have a World Champion last year by Kubica if they pushed harder. Instead BMW decided to leave the last year and build a KERS car for a hairy dwarf called Nick. It turned out they were wrong and favorising the dwarfish German driver against gigantic Polish driver did not help.

    One of the beautiful things was that they full followed the German “Ordnung” plan this year, even when double diffusers came, even when all the other teams were making progress and effort to improve as fast as possible, they sticked to their development plan. Ordnung muss sein!

    Despite all that what i wrote above, if they announce withdrawal, I will miss the Doctor and his mustache, I will miss the team that in its short history made really significant improvement, i will miss the nicer white and royal blue car, I will miss the moment when Kubica won the race driving his car like hell to overtake Heidfeld.

    I hope both the Polish giant and German dwarf will find a new fairytale in F1 and claim wins.

    And finally, I hope BMW will not quit. If so, it means they have small collons :-)

  34. They could have a World Champion last year by Kubica if they pushed harder. Instead BMW decided to leave the last year and build a KERS car for a hairy dwarf called Nick. It turned out they were wrong and favorising the dwarfish German driver against gigantic Polish driver did not help.

    One of the beautiful things was that they full followed the German “Ordnung” plan this year, even when double diffusers came, even when all the other teams were making progress and effort to improve as fast as possible, they sticked to their development plan. Ordnung muss sein!

    Despite all that what i wrote above, if they announce withdrawal, I will miss the Doctor and his mustache, I will miss the team that in its short history made really significant improvement, i will miss the nicer white and royal blue car, I will miss the moment when Kubica won the race driving his car like hell to overtake Heidfeld.

    I hope both the Polish giant and German dwarf will find a new fairytale in F1 and claim wins.

    And finally, I hope BMW will not quit. If so, it means they have small collons :-)

  35. Again, I just remembered, Thiessen mentioned that the problem will be over very soon. Did he mean that the problem will be over for BMW because they are pulling out?

    lets wait and see…

    but i wouldnt be even the least dissapointed if they bugger off. they never were exceptionally good, it took them a while to get to last year’s performance, and under the new rules it would take them another 3 years to get there to where they were last year. They should have stuck to being an engine supplier, and leave the everyday sporting to a proper F1 team. Williams was a good partership it could have paid int he long run, Sauber would have paid off as well in the long run, but you need to have a team that knows how to handle a winning streak, and i think Williams are the best at that…. other than Ferrari and Mclaren of course.

  36. hahaha where is kubica now!!!

    1. Probably into a much better seat?

  37. The Car manufacturers need to supply engines and engines only. It’s a cheap solution for them these days, with the engine freezes and cost cuts. Leave the cars to the racing teams that do nothing but build racing cars.

    Just like it was 15-20 years ago. It worked far better like that.


    just checking their F1 Website, the latest news bit is titled (BMW To Exit F1 at End of 2009 Season)

  39. Yep, I read it as well. How sad :-(
    I don’t know how everyone else feels, but is it a bit……I dunno, not special, to not have another car manufacturer in F1? What will we end up with one day?

  40. Bigbadderboom
    29th July 2009, 9:36

    Although dissapointing, it is enivitable, hopefully BMW wont just close the doors and I’m sure they will have an exit plan in place which will hand most of the set-up to a privateer. Hopefully Sauber can rise from the fire and do a Brawn!! I have very real concerns about Renault and Toyota now, I think Flavio thinks the Renault team he runs only has one car anyway, However just heard JA on TALKSPORT radio, and he has said that all other teams will be tied in until end 2012, when the new concorde is signed this weekend!
    Perhaps it would be for the best if the sport if we had enterprising privateers as opposed to manufacturers who have too many side issues to devote properly to F1

  41. Pfft – good riddance to them if this is the attitude they have at BMW: race as long as we’re going well, leave at the very first signs of failure.

    Explains why I hated BMW road cars.

    1. well they want to free up some more money to produce uselessly “efficient” cars like the X5 and X6 M… now if that money was spent on the F1 team, they’d probably be signing the Concorde agreement.

  42. Mercedes suddenly win from being terrible for most of the season thus far…and soon after BMW pull the plug. Perhaps being shamed by Mercedes improvement was bad advertisement BMW could not afford. I do wonder if they did not employ such uncharismatic drivers and have such a boring livery on their car whether they would have attracted more commercial attention. One cannot ignore the beauty and sleekness of the Mclaren Mercedes opposed to the ugliness of the BMW Sauber. Or the huge publicity Hamilton brought the Mclaren Mercedes brand opposed to the non-event of Kubica and Heidfeld. BMW’s most recent claim to fame in formula 1 was Kubica’s crash in Canada and not winning quick enough. I think fundamental mistakes were made in their campaign and this has meant the BMW brand has not matched up to their number one competitor Mercedes. I am sorry to see them go, more for F1 than for them as a manufacturer, and also despite Kubica’s and Heidfeld’s questionable commercial appeal, they are bloody good drivers.

    1. you just echoed my opinion! ayrton.

  43. I agree that both Kubica and Heidfeld are very good drivers. It’s easy to mock somebody for driving a bad car. I think Heidfeld is a gem for any new team because of his ridiculous consistency and the way he car nurse a car – brilliant for a team which is still getting to grips with their own car. As for Kubica, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferrari buy out his contract and hire him for the remainder of this season (but I’m not saying 2010). It wouldn’t be too strange for either driver to jump the sinking BMW ship asap and try to redeem themselves elsewhere.

  44. Well rumors about Kubica replacing Massa are unfounded…it wont happen. but I see that Quick Nick will take a Quick Hike or be stuck in lower tier teams, maybe even the new ones.

    But as their official statement read, it wont be until a few days before we know what will exactly happen. redundancies,and so forth… however does anyone know how long the driver’s contracts less. because they might get paid for next year’s services in case they are still contracted….

  45. BMW out of F1 at the end of 2009, sad, and I will miss the emblem and Dr.Thiessen. Kubica to Ferrari and Heidfeld to Force India?

  46. I don’t understand what the big deal is here. A manufacturer going into Formula 1 is nothing more than a marketing campaign. A several hundred million dollar marketing campaign. Sometimes in the billions of dollars overall. And if you have nothing to show for it, of course you have to cut your losses. Everyone says, “Oh, well, maybe next year!” but corporations don’t continue to bet hundreds of millions of dollars when they’re currently failing. This withdrawal, as with Honda, was totally understandable.

  47. i don’t expect force india to hang on for too long. kingfisher, the airliner owned by vijay mallya isn’t doing too well according to this indian news report

    will they be the next to pull the plug?

    1. Bigbadderboom
      29th July 2009, 10:59

      Oh dear, thats not good.

      1. Bigbadderboom
        29th July 2009, 11:03

        Most of his moey comes from beer, whisky and other brewing activities though doesn’t it?

        1. The sri lankan
          30th July 2009, 1:17

          yes, unless they figure a solution bring the currypowder/biofuel Fart India f1 hybrid, they will be out too

  48. Bigbadderboom
    29th July 2009, 10:57

    I’m not so sure about Kubica being as popular in the pit lane as many people think, although when given a car with potential he drove it well, this year when faced with a challenge he has almost disappeared. All we have heard from his pit radio is moaning and complaining, nothing constructive. It seems some of BMW’s failures may well be Kubica’s fault as he seems unable to develop the car. For me Nick is the better driver of the two and seems much more akin with the car and the requirements in getting the most from it and in getting it home.

    1. Provocation? Blindness? Prejudice?
      Pls, stay calm in judgements.

      Compare HAM or ALO. You’d say they did their job. Yes, but they GET good cars finally. KUB never did. Besides, these two guys said already enough what they think about Kubica’s abilities.

    2. Williams 4ever
      29th July 2009, 13:34

      BBB – Replace Kubica with Button and BMW with Honda in your argument. Barichello was better performer, working around the problems of 2007-08 Honda Cars and the day team was able to produce race winning car, guess who started having “Gear Shift, Launch Control, Strategy Switch” Issues :-? Yup Rubens Barichello.

      Long story short, lets not needlessly trash drivers, Remember Kubica Jumped in the Sauber-BMW car as replacement for Villenueve and was at speed and immediately fighting for Podiums.
      About Complaining and Whining – Yup all drivers do that Remember Hamilton Outburst to Press after Monaco’07? I don’t remember him being trashed for not being a Team-Man :-?

  49. This really isn’t that much of a surprise to me. BMW have clearly been using F1 as a marketing tool – this much is clear from their very precise annual targets. Regardless of that, I don’t believe that this move is a knee-jerk reaction following their failure to perform this season. With the state of the automotive industry worldwide it is hard to imagine that any of the manufacturers (with the possible exception of Ferrari) would not have been considering an exit for a long time.

    With BMW having sunk so much into their F1 project – and most likely still carrying debts relating to that investment – it is more than likely that they are looking for someone to take over the team. It is not unforeseeable that the team will be “rescued” a la Brawn.

    I think Kubica will become hot property in the transfer market, although I’m not entirely sure where he will end up. It has often been overlooked that he was on course for a solid podium (and, in his opinion, victory) in Melbourne before tangling with Vettel. Heidfeld could provide good experience for one of the new teams, but I think it is unlikely that he would move to any of the teams currently on the grid.

    1. That’s the only reason manufacturers and sponsors come into any sport. It’s part of a marketing budget pure and simple. always has been. Always will be. F1 is supposed to be the biggest tool to display your prowess. If sales are bad and you’re still spending US$130 million a year it doesn’t take the bean counters long to calculate what needs to be cut. I always liked Peter Sauber and the quiet unassuming way he went about running his teams in sportscars and F1. Hopefully he’ll get it back and run it properly.

  50. Can’t say I’m surprised. OK, they are not doing good this year but I think there is more to it. What about those long-term F1 agreements? Are the teams in control, or will it be the same all over again as soon as they are onboard? If they run the risk of having standard engines, etc. down the line, then I fully understand that they don’t see F1 as an important platform anymore for their brand.

    Looking at how much they pour into F1, I think they be better off with WTCC and Superbike (they even discarded MotoGP). I see a future where the manufacturers are looking to race in series that are closer related to the consumer market. For that reason alone I would definitely be surprised if Renault is still in F1 next year. I guess they (and maybe BMW as well) are itching to have a go at Le Mans.

  51. As BMW is actually saying they’ll leave Formula 1 because the series is no longer technically relevant, its just a matter of time for the others to follow.

    1. then why did they have to re-enter in the first place? was it technically relevant back in 2000? utter crap. by doing what they’ve done, they’ve really played into max’s hands :( . the time of announcement was not appropriate imo. they should have waited until the end of the season. Max will be over the moon tonite, he stands vindicated. This is a huge setback for FOTA.

  52. The FIA reaction had the following in it

    “Had these regulations not been so strongly opposed by a number of team principals, the withdrawal of BMW and further such announcements in the future might have been avoided.”

    Does the FIA know something? if you read between the lines, it seems that there are more teams ready to announce their departure. I say Toyota ‘for sure’…

    1. Williams 4ever
      29th July 2009, 13:38

      Does the FIA know something?

      Looks like there are more than just the “ladies” with Max in the dungeon ;-)

  53. i guess they feel humiliated getting beaten by mercedes over the last decade. first off all they came into F1 to negate mercedes’ domination. mercedes mclaren were dominating f1 in the late 90’s when BMW made their re-entry. pity they could beat mercedes only thrice in the last 10 years. they made a big mistake when they set about as an independent manufacturer. it would have been better off for them to have skick around with williams, that i’m sure would have yielded better results.

  54. they were the one to make all the noise about kers, now are not even using it!!! even worse, they are announcing their withdrawal in the middle of the season. what does mario mean when he says

    But it’s a resolute step in view of our company’s strategic realignment. Premium will increasingly be defined in terms of sustainability and environmental compatibility. This is an area in which we want to remain in the lead. Our Formula One campaign is thus less a key promoter for us.”


    utter crap imo. they’ve openly admitted defeat. this will have serious consequences for them in germany & other world markets. look at mercedes & what they’ve done. they’ve won 7 times this year. BMW imo should atleast continue to supply engines to regain lost glory. at least they could have done what honda did. wait until the end. bad losers.

    1. spot on mp4

  55. chaostheory
    29th July 2009, 11:44

    What a stupid decision. They have proven Max Mosley was right (I hate to admit it): you can’t rely on manufacturers. You can’t build the future of the sport with such people! This also undermined credibility of FOTA, the one organisation we – fans – supported so strongly. Now Bernie should make one condition while signing Concorde Agreement: you all will commit to the sport for 10 (ten)years, or go (censored) yourselves.
    I am really angry.
    But to look at brighter side of life: there is hope that Kubicas talent wont be wasted :)

    1. If you can get a copy read Ian Bamsey’s “The Anatomy and Development of the Sports Prototype Racing Car”. The rise and fall of world sports cars has been this way since the early 70s with the then CSI (now FIA) being no real help in keeping the series thriving. Manufacturers have acted the same way for decades. That’s why it was interesting to see the manufacturers encouraged in by Max and Bernie while they scourned the pleas of Paul Stoddart and Eddie Jordan when they were campaigning for the privateer entrant. Now Max acts like he is the saviour of the sport when he did nothing to stop us getting to where we are. Don’t be surprised that with the world economy in bad shape the bean counters are cutting back on race programs across the board, on four and two wheels. Let’s not forget that Max and Bernie are presiding over a chaotic situation as far as FOM fees are concerned. Genuine private promoters cannot afford to put on a race. Governments will only pay up for so long and billionaires will find something else to spend their money on. Why, after slating Silverstone for so many years is Bernie now sounding so concilliatory? Because Donington don’t have the money and he doesn’t want to be left with egg on his face. BMW’s problem is that they really believed they could timetable their success like they were making a clock. F1 doesn’t work that way and I think poor sales figures will be at the heart of it alongside the FIA’s governance.

    2. Although on the surface this appears to vindicate Mosley’s stance, we really have to step back and put things in perspective.

      In the last 10 years we have had 2 manufatcurers (incl BMW) leave the sport, meanwhile I think over a dozen independent teams have dropped out. So why is it suddenly that we cant rely on the manufacturers?

      F1 is a sport to us, but for the competitors its business; an investment. In order to stop the bleeding the FIA and FOM need to work to ensure that F1 is more commercially viable (give the teams more revenue, drop race fees to bing grands prix back to key markets like USA/France/Canada for marketing exposure) and more technically relevant (bring in less restrictive tech regs, discard artificial competitive elements like the two-tyre rule and KERS).

      The point is, a budget cap was never the right solution, regardless of BMW’s departure. The FIA and FOM need to work hard to make sure that it makes sense for teams to enter F1, otherwise independent and manufacturer teams alike will come and go, no matter what the current economic climate is like.

      1. I think the lack of a race in North America has more to do with it than anyone will admit.
        There are other reasons they could have chosen to leave and I believe their reasons are doublespeak at best.
        The announcement that they are leaving now at least puts the drivers on the market early enough that maybe they can find drives for next year.
        I like fota’s suggestion of the teams running 3 cars /race next year, but I hope they find someone to buy the team and I hope that whoever it is gets a chance to get a good competitive engine.

  56. maybe someone will buy them out… have an awesome car for next season and be really really strong in the first half of the season… :D

    1. LOL….History doesn’t repeat itself so soon…

  57. and at least it will be easy to tell which cars are Williams next year

    1. and at least it will be easy to tell which cars are Williams next year


      i don’t think their liveries are similar. they are easily distinguishable. moreover BMW looks like a shark.

    2. Williams 4ever
      29th July 2009, 13:41

      and at least it will be easy to tell which cars are Williams next year

      And how exactly did you get that notion :-?

  58. BMW have just stated on their offical facebook page that they will not be in F1 next year !!!

    1. in essence they are starting an anti-formula 1 propaganda. i wonder what would they have done if FOTA had managed a split, would they have walked away ? i doubt it. they are just accepting defeat. rest of the explanations they give is utter crap!!!

      1. mp4-19b: I think they are allowed to withdraw from F1 any time they feel like it and use whatever excuse they like. You just have to get over it. Don’t read the “utter crap” if you don’t like it.

  59. what is happening to F1? someone, please save our sport!

    1. That may require a ‘budget cap’…Oh crap !

      1. or an insanity cap

  60. Hey anybody remember Sauber Mercedes from Le Mans , oh around 20 years ago ??
    It could happen in 2010. Try could even paint the cars silver again ! As being the works Merc. Benz car McLaren these days does not have a lot of silver left.
    Schuey and Webber were a couple of the drivers I do believe.

  61. If BMW had backed Kubika for the title last year, it could have been a different story.

    Sad to see them go, but not really surprised. It would have been surprising had nobody left the sport.

    Renault, I think will stay as long as there is Alonso in the team. The moment he laves to some other team, they will pack their bags.

    Toyota have already said that they MUST win this season.

    I would bet on Toyota leaving next.

    1. Williams 4ever
      29th July 2009, 15:21

      Hamilton must thank his stars that he was driving for McLaren F1 and not Mercedes F1 in 2008 ;-)

  62. I was shocked when I read the news as I hadn’t even heard any rumours BMW were to quit. The general consensuses seemed to be that the most likely to quit would be Toyota and Renault.

    So one bad season and BMW decided enough is enough, the timing seems strange for the announcement, but as someone else mentioned they may have thought they would have to do it before they signed the Concorde Agreement or face heavy penalties.

    I hope some sort of rescue package can be found for the team, even though the factory location may not be ideal for some of the teams who wanted to join F1 earlier this year, I would have thought there would still be plenty of people interested.

    Even if BMW Sauber are not taken over I don’t think either driver will struggle to get a drive next year especially with the new teams, the thing will be if they will be offers Kubica or Heidfeld are prepared to accept.

  63. i cannot understand why they’ve failed so miserably. they like honda gave up developing their 2008 car half way through the season. strange decision. they were the first to roll out their prototype car. at that point in time i thought they were deceiving everyone by bringing such a crude & ridiculous looking car for testing( where it didn’t set the track on fire). so next i thought they were sand bagging like mclaren. but i got the shock of march when they brought the same stupid car to Melbourne. easily the worse looking car at par with renault. before the race i thought quick nick will be propelled like a Apollo Saturn rocked by his kers, but it didn’t happen. for the last 5 months i’ve been very closely studing detailed body work of every car. everybody, barring BMW seem to have made some changes to their aero. if we notice very closely there isn’t much of a difference between their prototype car & the current hungary trim car. not atleast noticeable changes such as in red bull & mclaren. even force india made some aero changes to their sidepods. BMW have badly messed it up.its a mess only they can sort, for that to happen they must not quit. there is a famous saying


    BMW have quit, so they’ll never win. atleast as a constructor.

  64. Shame that they’ve ruined Sauber then.

    Let’s hope someone can buy the team and carry things on.

  65. Nice summary of BMW’s involvement in F1 to date;

    Haven’t had time to read all the comments here, but I expect one of the big reasons for their departure is the lack of opertunity to differenciate themselves on an engine level, especially given that they can’t even use the same level of green technology that they bolt as standard on to their road cars now.

  66. Maybe F1 cars aren’t the best vehicles to show off road car technology ?

    1. I agree with you.

    2. I agree as well. But it could be…


  67. Four words Max is saying to himself right now,

    I. TOLD. YOU. SO.

    1. He’ll be getting the T-shirts sorted as I type this.;)

      Although you really have to say that BMW have left because of their results more than anything else.But then they probably wouldn’t be going if they didn’t have to spend the amount they do to be at the back of the grid.

      Will he get to say it again I wonder ?

  68. Probably part of the reason for BMW to pull the plug was because there is either no FI race or uncertainty about the races it the countries where their biggest markets are. USA, Canada & France no races, UK and Germany uncertainty. Now who’s fault is that?

    1. Well said!

    2. exactly

  69. Sorry if its been said. If I’m on BMW’s board I look at two worrying issues.

    First, BMW must pitch technology and excellence, or the image of it, to claim its market premium. Other series are a better showcase. Audi/Bently, Aston-Martin, Acura, Porsche are (re)making their names in prototypes in series designed to showcase innovation.

    How maddening is it for Audi and Porsche (and Peugeot!) to be talking up advances of their engine technology—clean diesel, TSFSI, HDI, chassis innovation— and winning on Sundays in cars with the same acronyn-decals they slap on the side of roadcars on Monday. Meanwhile BMW drive around in the back with a spec engine and McLaren’s ECU. Lame.

    To be clear, BMW could likely have won LeMans twice since 2006 if they had put their resources there—and then put their car-looking LMPs in the salon in Paris and Frankfurt, slathred in brake dust and oil, and thus spelled out why an M3 is a “sports car” as much as a 911

    Second, and more to the point, these competitors’ cars race in the biggest races in the world, and they race in America. The world is changing, but you can still sell a heap more $100K sports sedans between NY and DC than in all of China. So who cares that there is a new race in China, Turkey, and, ahem, Abu Dabi?

    Of course, at the end of the day, its about winning. Corporations don’t compete for the joy of competition. Mercedes would be heading for the door too if they didn’t have confidence that the folks in Woking and the English kid in the car couldn’t win a championship every 2-3 years.

    1. @DMW well said especially this part.

      Second, and more to the point, these competitors’ cars race in the biggest races in the world, and they race in America. The world is changing, but you can still sell a heap more $100K sports sedans between NY and DC than in all of China. So who cares that there is a new race in China, Turkey, and, ahem, Abu Dabi?
      This is the part the FIA and Bernie are miossing out on.

  70. Fandysilalahi
    29th July 2009, 15:58


    You’re thinkin what I’m thinkin.

    Been watchin F1 since I was 7. Been loving mercs since as long as I can remember.

  71. A budget cap is NOT the way to keep manufacturers from leaving the sport. The best thing to do is make F1 more valuable with greater exposure to key markets (USA anyone?) and more technically open-ended to leav room for innovation and valuable R&D. In essence, Bernie needs to make it cheaper to hold a race, and more fan-centric. The FIA needs to come up with better tech regs, and eliminate the artificial constraints of the tire change rule and such.

    1. Open regulations and unlimited budgets equals ‘spending competition’.And not all F1 teams are in it to sell cars.Some (like Williams) just want to race.:)

      1. Im not asking for ‘open’ regulations, just less restrictive regs that allow more bang for the buck and creativity. As we have seen, tight technical regulations dont stop F1 from becoming a spending competition either. And you bring up a good point that other teams dont use F1 for R and D, but the point Im trying to make is that F1 needs to make BUSINESS sense or it wont work for anybody.

        1. Open regulations and a budget cap is what is best for the sport (IMO) just as Max wanted.

          It won’t stop the manufacturers leaving (nothing will) but it will allow the privateer teams to keep doing what they exist to do… race! Manufacturer support? fair enough, engines? sure, but privateer teams like McLaren, Williams, Sauber etc is what makes F1.

  72. If they want to save F1, then they need to come back to Canada, USA, and more European races. F1 has no business going anywhere else for the time being. I bet that they could have a race in Iceland and still get more fans to show up then there will be in Abu Dhabi.
    Manufacturers want to go to where people will buy their road cars.
    The best way for F1 to go is for something like this to happen:
    Coca-cola buys a team and purchases BMW engines
    Red Bull continues to have a partnership with Renault/Nissan while the Renault team pulls out.
    Pepsi Cola buys out Toyota but continues to purchase Toyota engines
    Vodofane continues with McLaren
    Brawn GP becomes Virgin GP
    What I’m trying to say is that individual owners and companies need to buy or create teams and then have their engines supplied to them by companies like
    and so on anon
    I would love to see a bright red car with Coca-Cola and Ferrari liveries all over it. No more pure manufacturer teams for a little while.

    1. That was the part I liked about World Endurance racing in the mid eighties to early nineties. Porsche would come in with a car(962) and race it for 1 year and then privateers took over and all you saw were 962’s with corporate or individual sponsors, the only Porsche emblem was at the front, and it was small.
      The only pure mfg should be Ferrari because it is Ferrari. They have stuck it out thru good and bad.

  73. so these corporate monkeys come into our sport, start kicking their toys out before most of them have even won a race let alone a championship and then at a drop of a hat, they’re out! ha! good riddance, and Bernie was right not to cowtow to them, in fact i think he bent over too much and most bloggers went along with it just cos they didnt like bernie or max. fota fo.

    for honda and bmw read renault and toyota. good riddance, they were incompetent, divisive and greedy.

    if any other manufacturers come in then they need to tow the line, not start pulling at it. let the garigista’s and ferrari decide F1, not some idiot like that Renault guy who started squealing when he hasnt even got his own house in order (not pat symonds)

  74. It all started with the tax payer funding the race…maybe B.E. can get the tax payer to fund the teams…it’s over for F1 in the U.S.A. for ever.

    1. The tax payers are funding the teams! We buy their cars and then we stop them from going bankrupt by allowing our governments to bail them out…with our money !

      1. kidding,lets face it,BMW broad was put over the edge by the Nazi comments from B.E.,then FIA/Max show did not help them sell cars

        1. You make an excellent point ther as all the German companies are sensitive to this area and comments like that.

  75. It’s a done deal. They are out after this season.

    Damn, maybe I should sell my M3 now.

  76. Paige Michael-Shetley
    29th July 2009, 18:38

    BMW’s rationale is pretty stupid. “Oh, we didn’t win a championship by our 4th year, so we quit.” The people at the top of the company apparently don’t know much about F1 and how competitive it is.

    1. When you need a team of 700 people,it’s time to move on

  77. Look BMW is trying to sell a brand,the B.E. an Max killed that with there bs side show

  78. I hope this can open up room for Lola or Aston Martin/Prodrive to come in. I would love to see Lola get an entry, but how likely is that to happen? Surely, by BMW announcing their exit at this time of year there is time left to enable another team to enter?

  79. The bigger the spend the more they must deliver on running at the front or get out in the face of defeat by their mfg competitors which is a loss to the brand. That is unless you are Ferrari and you don’t have a like competitor with a merchandise franchise.

    Williams are vindicated and the FIA’s position is vindicated and we are not yet down the track because the Concorde agreement hasn’t been signed.

    As this unwinds minds will focus on the fact that F1’s only way to a secure future is for CVC to be forced to sell their investment in the face of an otherwise total collapse and that the new rights holder’s stake is written down and contained to something sustainable in terms of the returns it demands.

  80. The sri lankan
    30th July 2009, 1:21

    in all faireness, the right thing to do is to make sure the Sauber name doesnt disappear. BMW should come up with an exit plan that allows Sauber to continue operations even with a BMW engine for next year.

  81. Prisoner Monkeys
    30th July 2009, 2:54

    You know, I’m not too surprised to see BMW go. It’s a shame, because the name Sauber is a lot like that of Williams, if considerably less famous. It should be saved if it can, though I suspect someone like Epsilon Euskadi will take their spot.

    Hopefully, Robert Kubica will be saved. I don’t care much for Nick Heidfeld – he’s always been all over the place, where in a Prost, Jordan or BMW – but I think Kubica is race-winning material if he has a good car under him. If not (like this year), he tends to lose confidence.

    As unsurprised as I am, I’m also a little disappointed. I think Formula One needs manufacturers just as much as it needs the privateers; a balance between the two is pretty good. But with the departures of BMW and Honda, we’re down to four. I was also hoping Toro Rosso would disappear at the end of the year – they’re little more than a glorified GP2 team, who aren’t allowed to perform and whose drivers are snatched away as soon as they come good … at least when they were Minardi they were allowed to compete rather than play second fiddle – but if too many teams withdraw, FOTA isn’t going to be too solid.

  82. This is awful, and open the door to others teams like Toyota or Renault willing to leave… Would the FIA admit an extra team now? Or we are on for three cars teams??…

    My bet: KUB to Renault (to take ALO’s place) and HEI to BRAWN

  83. discussions, have you seen

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