BMW F1 exit anouncement expected

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

BMW's future in F1 is suddenly in doubt
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

170 comments on “BMW F1 exit anouncement expected”

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3 5
  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. I was joking

      1. 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.

Jump to comment page: 1 2 3 5

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are moderated. See the Comment Policy and FAQ for more.