BMW F1 exit anouncement expected

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

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170 comments on BMW F1 exit anouncement expected

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  1. F1Outsider said on 29th July 2009, 1:27

    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!

    • VXR said on 29th July 2009, 1:50

      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…..

    • Gman said on 29th July 2009, 1:51

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

      • Kovy said on 29th July 2009, 2:44

        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.

        • The sri lankan said on 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?

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

  4. TommyB said on 29th July 2009, 1:37

    Hope theres time still for a new team

    • TommyB said on 29th July 2009, 10:33

      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

      • VXR said on 29th July 2009, 11:56

        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.

        • TommyB said on 29th July 2009, 12:58

          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

          • John H said on 29th July 2009, 13:14

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

          • TommyB said on 29th July 2009, 15:30

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

  5. sato113 said on 29th July 2009, 1:39

    my favourite team disappears… lets get audi in then.

    • Jay said on 29th July 2009, 10:00

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

    • Wesley said on 29th July 2009, 18:29

      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!

    • Jay Menon said on 29th July 2009, 1:57

      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 company..so 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!!

      • Kovy said on 29th July 2009, 2:49

        Please Aston Martin :)

      • Gman said on 29th July 2009, 5:00

        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.

        • Andrew said on 29th July 2009, 6:50

          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

      • Andrew said on 29th July 2009, 6:56

        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

    • Striay said on 29th July 2009, 8:42

      I like!!!

  7. Hammad said on 29th July 2009, 1:43

    Someone else could take over that team?

  8. Hammad said on 29th July 2009, 1:44

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

  9. Robert said on 29th July 2009, 1:47

    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.

    • Williams 4ever said on 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. VXR said on 29th July 2009, 1:57

    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.

    • Martin said on 29th July 2009, 2:09

      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.

      • Renault won twice as a constructor.

        • Ronman said on 29th July 2009, 9:09

          @ 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.

        • Exactly.

  11. JUGNU said on 29th July 2009, 2:06

    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. F1Yankee said on 29th July 2009, 2:06

    i am surprised.

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

  13. craig said on 29th July 2009, 2:06

    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. zerogee said on 29th July 2009, 2:18

    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…

    • Gman said on 29th July 2009, 5:03

      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. Choltz said on 29th July 2009, 2:50

    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.

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