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

  1. 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.

  2. Brian said on 29th July 2009, 5:04

    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.

  3. Gman said on 29th July 2009, 5:14

    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.

    • mp4-19b said on 29th July 2009, 11:06

      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

      http://www.formula1.com/news/headlines/2009/7/9695.html

      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.

  4. 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.

    • mp4-19b said on 29th July 2009, 10:46

      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!!

  5. Brendan said on 29th July 2009, 5:53

    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.

  6. Dougie said on 29th July 2009, 7:00

    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.

    • gabal said on 29th July 2009, 10:29

      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.

  7. Ronman said on 29th July 2009, 7:42

    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…

  8. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 29th July 2009, 8:06

    Thanks Ronman – have fixed it.

  9. savage said on 29th July 2009, 8:16

    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.

  10. DGR-F1 said on 29th July 2009, 8:37

    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…..

  11. Striay said on 29th July 2009, 8:38

    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???

    SHOCK!!!!!!!

  12. Striay said on 29th July 2009, 8:39

    *WILLIAMS

  13. Miguel said on 29th July 2009, 9:00

    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 :-)

  14. Miguel said on 29th July 2009, 9:00

    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 :-)

  15. Ronman said on 29th July 2009, 9:04

    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.

  16. hahaha where is kubica now!!!

  17. ajokay said on 29th July 2009, 9:10

    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.

  18. Ronman said on 29th July 2009, 9:17

    IT”S OFFICIAL

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

  19. McPhil said on 29th July 2009, 9:19

    As Ronman said, its official…

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/77400

  20. ivz said on 29th July 2009, 9:36

    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?

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