Ecclestone tips BMW to follow Honda back to F1

2013 F1 season

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Bernie Ecclestone believes Honda’s planned return to Formula One in 2015 could lead to other major car manufacturers joining them.

The Formula One Group boss named BMW as another carmaker he expects to return to F1.

“I would be surprised if we don’t see BMW again,” Ecclestone told City AM.

The mid-2000s saw several car manufacturers competing in Formula One with huge budgets but achieving little success.

However Ecclestone said “The amount of money [BMW] spent was not significant in the grand scheme of things.”

“It makes sense for them to return,” he added.

BMW left Formula One after a poor season in 2009. The previous year Robert Kubica scored the team’s only victory in the Canadian Grand Prix, and was in contention for the drivers’ championship until the penultimate round.

They were runners-up in the constructors’ championship in 2007 after McLaren were excluded from the standings.

Between 2000 and 2005 BMW supplied engines to Williams. They also competed in F1 in the 1980s, providing turbocharged engines to Ecclestone’s BMW team which powered Nelson Piquet to the 1983 drivers’ championship.

See pictures of BMW’s last F1 campaign here:

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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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27 comments on “Ecclestone tips BMW to follow Honda back to F1”

  1. It would be nice, but I’m sceptical until we see concrete announcements. The new engine formula isn’t bringing manufacturers flocking back as promised. The original proposals might have been better.

    1. @red-andy BMW having built a four-cylinder turbo for F1 before of course.

      1. Well we’ll see if Bild says anything about it. Their predictions tend to be spot on, just sayin’ :P

    2. jimscreechy (@)
      21st May 2013, 13:33

      I’m not sure about how the development of these engines is suppose to be instituted. Is it going to be as it is now with the V8’s ie no further improvements, some other method of restrictions on developement, or a complete free for all? I can’t really see car manufacturers returning with the stingent restrictions in developement in almost every aspect of car engineering and development being in place. The huge amount of technical and financial investment producing such marginal performance results over competitors cannot be an atractive option, particularly when compared to other racing categories.

  2. Ecclestone’s BMW team = Ecclestone’s Brabham team? :)

    I won’t be surprised at all if there’s another manufacturer to join in for 2015 which could be a new name into the sport. The regulations makes sense for the trend of road going cars.

  3. Wasn’t BMW’s 4 cylinder turbo in the Brabham the most powerfull F1 engine ever?

    I believe they had 1200HP in qualifying mode, but rumours said they had 1500 in Q-mode.

    It was the only F1 enging I *felt* when it was running up the Hunzerug in Zandvoort. Still gives me goose bumps thinking about that.

    1. Indeed, I feel they may have been turned off though by the change to V6’s perhaps. It’d be nice to see BMW back though: the M12/13 was indeed the most powerful F1 engine ever @marcusaurelius, if inherently unreliable!

  4. You know, what surprises me is the lack of interest of the Volkswagen group. If there’s a german manufacturer (or car corporation/group) that knows their Turbos and owns many potential marketable Sports/racing brands, its them. Audi, Lamborghini, Bugatti, Porsche (they bought them if I’m not mistaken?), or even Volkswagen and Seat could be great for branding…

    1. They’ve already commited to Endurance Racing for the “greater road relevance”.

      1. Indeed, its utterly imperative that we can all sustain speeds in excess of 200mph for 24 hours.

        1. I think it’s more the fact that it can run for 24 hours, rather than 90 minutes. F1 has near enough zero road relevance.

        2. @coefficient hence the “”marks ;)

          I do see their logic though: it has more technical freedom in the areas relevant to road cars and obviously more testing and more track time. So really I can see where they’re coming from: the only area F1 is really better is the global exposure for the brand!

          1. I know, my apologies for being facetious.

            Racing is a wasteful indulgence at the end of the day so “road releveance” is a bit of a platitude to the green brigade. The technolgy is amazing but I can’t really see much LMP1 tech finding its way onto my next Toyota or whatever.

            What sells cars is winning these races imho and that is why the Manufacturers scamper off with their tales between their legs when they don’t win and its also why brands like VW haven’t got the balls to join the fray. Road relevance is an excuse for a failing manufacturer squad to pull out and an excuse not to enter in the first place for fear of showing badly.

          2. @coefficient there is some development I suppose which is useful and the competitive environment of a racing series does drive innovation, but only where the regulations permit. In that sense I think F1 stopped becoming particularly road-relevant in the 70’s, when aerodynamics started dominating the sport.

    2. I don’t think the presence of turbos itself means much to manufacturers. Turbocharging, per se, is old-hat. It’s not some kind of leading edge technology anymore and its not like the F1 rules are going to be allowing the exotic forms of the technology, using ultralight alloy turbines with variable vanes on tubos organized in series. That is, the F1 engines will be less advanced that the leading edge of roadcar turbo technology. Just as KERS is in function less interesting than in a Prius or Accord Plug-in Hybrid.

      What might grab their attention is the opporutnity/obligation to run a stock engine block, or to get a weigh or boost advantage if you ran a stock block. The stock-block rules added a lot of spice to CART back in the day, and drew in a number of manufacturers who wanted to say they had a “stock” engine in the race car.

  5. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
    20th May 2013, 11:41

    Question is, if they were to return who would they buy?. They have never run a ‘works’ team and instead usually take over other teams (e.g. Sauber, Williams).

    1. They wouldn’t necessarily have to buy any team. They could just come back in the same manner as Honda and supply engines. Maybe someone like Lotus, who are a front running team, and may want to move away from having a Renault engine, as Red Bull are the Renault ‘works’ team.

      1. Lucas Wilson (@full-throttle-f1)
        20th May 2013, 11:57


      2. True, Lotus is the only top team without a works deal. BMW could be great for them. I don’t believe they would buy a team, just come back as an engine supplier as you said.

        1. How about Red Bull then? I don’t necessarily agree that BMW are coming back, as another article makes clear, but if they were RBR would seem the logical choice. They have the best chassis’ in f1 at the moment, the best German driver of his generation – I think that could work. But only if they came back, and they’re not…

  6. Given that 80% of the road-going BMWs are having one, two or three turbochargers fitted on a downsized engine, I’d assume that joining F1 would make lots of sense.
    Besides, there’s an M division to compete with AMG label, “The joy of driving” will also fit, etc.
    Let’s see.

  7. BMW are having pretty good success in DTM this season and last, so in a way I’d be surprised if they felt a return to F1 would be attractive. But if they decide to become an engine supplier, it would be most welcome I’m sure.

  8. I hope this really happens. I’ll probably get to work a team then, free tickets, passes for pit lane, what not. Woot. But alas, highly unlikely as BMW motto now is ROAD RELEVANCE.

  9. BMW will not return to F1!
    No point, not profitable and as much as we love it, not a good sport to be in atm.

    1. There’s still that element of selling the brand as always but BMW are doing just fine in that department anyway!

    2. jimscreechy (@)
      21st May 2013, 13:08

      I tend to agree with you @funkyf1

  10. BMW and Toyota have denied rumours that they will return to F1 in 2015

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