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. 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!!!!!!!

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

    *WILLIAMS

  3. 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 :-)

  4. 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 :-)

  5. 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.

  6. hahaha where is kubica now!!!

  7. 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.

  8. 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)

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

    As Ronman said, its official…

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

  10. 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?

  11. Bigbadderboom said on 29th July 2009, 9:36

    Although dissapointing, it is enivitable, hopefully BMW wont just close the doors and I’m sure they will have an exit plan in place which will hand most of the set-up to a privateer. Hopefully Sauber can rise from the fire and do a Brawn!! I have very real concerns about Renault and Toyota now, I think Flavio thinks the Renault team he runs only has one car anyway, However just heard JA on TALKSPORT radio, and he has said that all other teams will be tied in until end 2012, when the new concorde is signed this weekend!
    Perhaps it would be for the best if the sport if we had enterprising privateers as opposed to manufacturers who have too many side issues to devote properly to F1

  12. Pfft – good riddance to them if this is the attitude they have at BMW: race as long as we’re going well, leave at the very first signs of failure.

    Explains why I hated BMW road cars.

    • Ronman said on 29th July 2009, 10:13

      well they want to free up some more money to produce uselessly “efficient” cars like the X5 and X6 M… now if that money was spent on the F1 team, they’d probably be signing the Concorde agreement.

  13. Ayrton said on 29th July 2009, 9:52

    Mercedes suddenly win from being terrible for most of the season thus far…and soon after BMW pull the plug. Perhaps being shamed by Mercedes improvement was bad advertisement BMW could not afford. I do wonder if they did not employ such uncharismatic drivers and have such a boring livery on their car whether they would have attracted more commercial attention. One cannot ignore the beauty and sleekness of the Mclaren Mercedes opposed to the ugliness of the BMW Sauber. Or the huge publicity Hamilton brought the Mclaren Mercedes brand opposed to the non-event of Kubica and Heidfeld. BMW’s most recent claim to fame in formula 1 was Kubica’s crash in Canada and not winning quick enough. I think fundamental mistakes were made in their campaign and this has meant the BMW brand has not matched up to their number one competitor Mercedes. I am sorry to see them go, more for F1 than for them as a manufacturer, and also despite Kubica’s and Heidfeld’s questionable commercial appeal, they are bloody good drivers.

  14. I agree that both Kubica and Heidfeld are very good drivers. It’s easy to mock somebody for driving a bad car. I think Heidfeld is a gem for any new team because of his ridiculous consistency and the way he car nurse a car – brilliant for a team which is still getting to grips with their own car. As for Kubica, I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferrari buy out his contract and hire him for the remainder of this season (but I’m not saying 2010). It wouldn’t be too strange for either driver to jump the sinking BMW ship asap and try to redeem themselves elsewhere.

  15. Ronman said on 29th July 2009, 10:11

    Well rumors about Kubica replacing Massa are unfounded…it wont happen. but I see that Quick Nick will take a Quick Hike or be stuck in lower tier teams, maybe even the new ones.

    But as their official statement read, it wont be until a few days before we know what will exactly happen. redundancies,and so forth… however does anyone know how long the driver’s contracts less. because they might get paid for next year’s services in case they are still contracted….

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