BMW: Ten years in F1 in 100 pictures

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Ralf Schumacher's Williams-BMW gets airborne in 2002

BMW entered F1 at the beginning of this decade and left at the end of it.

But as well as being an engine supplier to Williams for six years, then winning a race after taking over a team of their own, BMW also recognised the importance of doing something a bit special.

They put Alessandro Zanardi back behind the wheel of an F1 car, they took F1 back to the N???rburging, and they created the excellent Pit Lane Park.

It’s for that as much as their on-track performances that I’ll miss them. This gallery picks out a selection of highlights from their ten years in the sport.

Ten years of BMW in F1 in 100 pictures

BMW in pictures

Images (C) Williams/LAT, Bridgestone, BMW ag

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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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51 comments on “BMW: Ten years in F1 in 100 pictures”

  1. Only one word to describe your effort Keith


    But surprised that the Brabham-BMW didn’t get a mention. That was the only time that they’ve ever tasted success.

    1. Abdurahman (@)
      22nd May 2013, 3:08

      I’m confused as to why Brabham-BMW isn’t mentioned here. It was full on BMW, even said M sport on the engine block and had the roundel on the cars I believe.

  2. I don’t understand why some people are glad that BMW are leaving. I am quite annoyed that they left at the first sign of disaster, this years BMW was as bad as previous Hondas, however they atleast managed to improve their season towards the end and scored a reasonable 36 points.

    For the previous 2 years, BMW were major players, they were either always right behind the McLarens and Ferrari’s or were even beating either of them on certain occasions. I still believe eventually they would have reached their 2008 level performance and maybe even exceeded it, but unfortunately we will never know that unless next years Sauber does a Brawn. BMW have also brought Kubica and Vettel into the sport.

    It’s a shame that they leaving while being tagged as a joke, but at least their progress in F1 was great, and only Renault was better than them in that aspect (Won 2 races on merit in the seasons before their championship years). I also feel for Mario Thiessen, people blame him for not challenging for the 2008 championship, and calling him as a “non racer” but he was visibly disappointed when BMW held that press conference, and it seems he wants to stay with the Sauber team.

    If only they knew at the time that this years car would be poor, could we have seen Kubica as the 2008 champion? They were also pretty close to the constructors (despite only having 1 win!). Maybe if they continued we would have BMW in the sport next year!

  3. Thanks for the pictures, this was my favorite team!!

  4. Nice collection.

    Anyone know what track that is in the first shot, with Jorg Muller testing?

      1. Tah muchly!

  5. Not especially liked the picture of Mansell’s crotch :)

    1. Mansell without that golden mustache doesn’t look right.

  6. Sorry, ‘I’ especially liked the picture of Mansell’s crotch

  7. Which BMW livery was best?

    o 2000 Williams
    o 2001- 05 Williams
    o 2006- 09 Sauber

    I’d say the 2001- 05 Williams. It was very smart, if a bit boring, and I like the dark blue sections, similar to the old Prost

    1. I’d say the 2006 FW 28 was aerodynamically a sleek car. No aero bits & pieces. That is how a F1 car should look like.

      1. Oops! Didn’t read your question properly. Livery? They were all the same!!

        Most boring livery after Toyota.

        1. I liked Sauber livery best

          1. Sorry? You mean the Sauber which Massa drove during 04 & 05? Not sure about livery, but aerodynamically the car was the best looking after the 2005 mclaren that year.

          2. Actually the livery Sauber used between 1996 and 2005 was one of my personal favourites, I hope whatever team Petronas sponsors next year brings back the turquoise.

            Wouldn’t say the design of the car itself was anything special- but mabye that’s because I’m not a designer like MP4!

    2. The 2000 Williams. That almost black blue in just the right amount and in just the right places over the white. The hint of red in the Compaq logos is just enough too.

      Loved that Williams. It looks classic.

      1. Yeah I really liked that one too.

    3. I agree, it’s the 2001 – 05 Williams livery for me, I really liked the white and dark blue with that touch of silver dividing the two main coulurs.

      1. Mp4 I didn’t really like the nose so much of the 05 Sauber. I meant with Bmw Sauber this year the livery has been the best in my opinion.

    4. I love the blue and white livery.One of my favs.

      I will miss BMW:( They were the first team I followed and took to Red Bull after Seb left them.I hope Heidfeld gets a ride next season as he is also one of my favorite drivers.

  8. After watching the entire year, kinda got used to the wide front wing. But looking at the photo of the 08 and 09 car side-by-side, the ugliness of the 09 car really refreshed itself.

    Purely comparing 08 and 09, still prefer 08 car.

    1. I prefer 09 car…
      I always liked BMW. It’ll be sad to see them go. Who knows maybe they will be back one day.

      1. I prefer 09 car…


        1. I was serious about 09 car. Maybe I have gone mad … :P

          1. Yes you have gone mad! The 2009 BMW has to be one of the ugliest cars of all time.

            I remember that day this time last year when BMW were the first team to run a car under 2009 regulations, I got such a shock. The only two teams to make their 09 cars look even remotely good were Mclaren and Red Bull

          2. I think for me the main problem with the F1.09 in the looks department, is the front wing especially those front wing endplates, it looks too boxy and basic, and I think the mainly white finish for the front wing highlights this more than it does on other 2009 F1 cars.

          3. Aww Ned I thought you would be on my side as we both don’t mind the Renault. Clearly I am more insane than you (I may call it better taste:P)
            I used to hate the box look to it PJA but it has grown on me.

          4. Nope, you’re on your own on this one Steph!

          5. I’m with Steph on this one, the 09 BMW is a looker when you look long enough at it, once they took out the KERS and had more room to sculpt the car.

            It takes a while but you start to notice a lot of detail without flip ups, which is a plus point.

            Yes i’m mad, I stare at the 09 BMW in ninth position.

  9. Sad to see a team go (though not if they’re going to have that mentality), but at least I won’t have to see such ugly cars line up on the gird anymore – the last two years’ have been shockers! ;)

  10. great pictures, great memories, thanks for this :)

    1. Totally agree. :)

  11. A great collection of pictures.

    I know it wasn’t successful and most people thought it was ugly but I still like the FW26 ‘walrus’ Williams from 2004. Part of the reason I like it is because it is different from all the other cars, if the concept had worked and so every time had adopted a similar front end I don’t think I would still like it as much though.

    Although I wouldn’t really say I was a fan of BMW I will be sorry to see them leave F1.

    1. some other walrus wannabe-s from 2004:

      i’m sorry, i don’t have better pictures about them, and sorry for the offtopic comment as well, but i thought that this is the right place and time to post these rare gems.

      1. Thanks for picture links. I knew other teams had tested the walrus nose in the wind tunnel, as teams always will when someone else comes up with a new concept, but I never realised that any other team actually tested it on the circuit.

  12. Aaaah, – the tusk-nosed Williams. Hard to argue that it’s beautiful, but I always thought it was very cool. Too bad it wasn’t aerodynamically viable. That Williams and this year’s Red Bull – the two most original F1 designs in a long time?

    1. Yeah it was no looker but it’s always good when you’ve got some cars that stand out from the crowd in terms of design and not just colour.

  13. I actually liked the BMW team, much better than Toyota because they actually won a race!

    Also Heidfeld was probably my favourite driver of the 2008 season because he also sprung up a surprise in some of the races, like Spa. He also definitely did the best overtakes that season, like Silverstone. It’s just a shame he hasn’t managed to win a race yet.

  14. Mussolini's Pet Cat
    13th November 2009, 21:35

    I can’t believe anyone will actually miss BMW.. Can someone please tell what legacy they have left????

    1. maybe you won’t miss them, i will.

      well, since they fusioned with Sauber, they fulfilled the plan like a real Swiss clockwork, the BMW board set for them.
      they took over Sauber in 2006, and finisched the year with 2 podiums. the original Sauber had like 6 podium finishes since their F1 debute in 1993!

      in 2007 they made another step forward, they were regular top8 finishers, and challenged the podium as well, they became the 3rd strongest team behind Ferrari and McLaren.

      in 2008 they delivered their 1st GP win, and challenged both championship titles.

      this year should have been their year, according to the BMW board plans, but the acclimatising to the new rules made their life tougher than expected.

      so basically in 3 years, 2006-07-08, they did one of the most spectacular improvements as a team the history of F1 have ever seen, or at least i see it this way. from the down-middle section to the top of the F1. i don’t think any of the 2010 newcomer teams can do the same.

      and this year we could see, how they fought back and improved the car at the end of the season.

      i’m glad that at least the Sauber-core remains which has proved that given the required money (from BMW), they can do what the greatest F1 teams can.

      1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
        14th November 2009, 9:30

        Not exactly a sterling performance for such a supposed big company.. Good ridance.

        1. i have to disagree… Ferrari had to wait 21 years to win the championship again, BMW was very close at the end of their 3rd year. what more exactly do you want?

          1. Well said Andrew!

          2. Mussolini's Pet Cat
            14th November 2009, 23:08

            I think you’ve answered your own question. Compared to Ferrari, BMW have neither vision nor the stomach for the long haul.

  15. Where is the Kimi at photo?

  16. Australia 2002. Aahhh yes….I believe that was Ralf’s only actual pass of a Ferrari in his career. :-) Also, I personally think the Williams “Walrus” nose was really cool. Too bad it didn’t work.

  17. Nice job but feeling bad thinking they won’t be there next season.

  18. very sad to hear that BMW quit next year.
    I miss Zanardi..we met in Kuala Lumpur and he was very friendly. How he is right now..after lost his legs

    1. Mussolini's Pet Cat
      14th November 2009, 23:10

      Please, please tell me why it is so sad???? Honestly, I cant see what all the fuss is about.

  19. Greats photos. You should do the same with the eight years of Toyota in F1. Bye!

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