BMW to withdraw from F1 at the end of 2009

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
It hasn't been confirmed yet but there are growing rumours that BMW will announce it is withdrawing from F1 at the end of this season.

This is unexpected considering BMW's involvement with FOTA and the impending new Concorde agreement, although that may go some way to explaining the timing.

Is there no end to the bad news this season?
Or is this in fact a blessing in disguise with yet another "nasty, rich" manufacturer withdrawing?

Will Sauber continue with another engine supplier or fall by the wayside?

What will the implications be, if any, for the teams which failed in their bid to enter the 2010 championship if Sauber do not continue?

Source: F1 braced for BMW exit announcement
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
It wouldn't be bad news for me if there is a chance for Lotus to return to the grid.

Yeah, go on you lot laugh, but Johnny Herbert is still working with the team so there must be some hope.

LOL
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
i am not surprised at all actually, we knew at least one big car brand in F1 was about to leave. maybe more. to me, bmw were very clearly one of the companies that could leave F1.

toyota is a part of FOTA too and i am almost certain they will leave F1 too. and i am more then 50% sure renault will leave too.

car sales are not expected to be up before end of 2010. F1 is simply not sustainable, how can you fire thousands of people and spend millions to keep 2 cars going?
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
In a remarkably frank interview on Radio 5 this morning, Bernie told the interviewer that Mario Thiesen at BMW had told him a few years ago that BMW had three years to win the title. He almost confirmed that BMW would withdraw and that the excuse for "The current situation in F1" was more likely to be due to their current financial status.

I thought it rather refreshing that Bernie seemed quite open and honest.

He also said that in his opinion we won't see Massa back in a car this season all though he is making a good recovery and that he thought it was highly unlikely that Schumacher would drive in Massa's place.

In response to questions over F1 safety he said that a great deal of work had gone into Helmet design and that both the Surtees accident and the Massa accident were incredably difficult to predict and prevent.

The final snippet of info was that all teams had agreed to the new concorde agreement and the sign up was virtually complete.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
Does this prove that if you try and make an F1 car outside of the UK or Italy you are doomed to failure?
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
Does this prove that if you try and make an F1 car outside of the UK or Italy you are doomed to failure?
I don't think the location has anything to do with it FB. I think it's the usual reaction of a car maker to a downturn in global profits. In one area Max was correct when he said that car makers can come and go as they please where as independant teams only have F1 and are therefore more likely to stick with it.

The next big question is when will Renault go because they surely will.
 

bogaTYR

Points Scorer
cider_and_toast said:
I don't think the location has anything to do with it FB. I think it's the usual reaction of a car maker to a downturn in global profits. In one area Max was correct when he said that car makers can come and go as they please where as independant teams only have F1 and are therefore more likely to stick with it.

The next big question is when will Renault go because they surely will.
if i was a fota fan i would be seriously annoyed now. like CaT states very rightly some teams clearly use F1 just like max always has said they would. and some people thought it was cos of the sport and the fans. ha, no such luck. there are privateers, ferrari and mclaren. those are the only ones who make their living from F1. the car builders are there for other reasons, they will just follow the leader and when the going gets tough, then poof!

bmw will publish its results on august 4th. so the timing of this announcement is very obvious.
 

Galahad

Not a Moderator
Valued Member
I don't think it's enormously surprising, to be honest. BMW have underperformed the most of all the teams this year, given their budget and performance in 2008.

Manufacturer involvement is always going to be cyclical and linked to the economic situation in the road car markets. We had an unusually long period of growth in the major economies, and manufacturer participation grew to an unprecedent extent; now there is a contraction and manufacturers will withdraw.

This need not present a particular problem for F1. New independent teams will be allowed in to fill any gaps as and when they appear - as we saw earlier this season, there is a large number of individuals and groups still interested in being involved in F1. Arguably some new blood should have been allowed in before now, but better late than never.

Hopefully BMW will be able to find a new buyer for the Hinwil factory (or possibly an old one, in the case of Peter Sauber?) They've given themselves more time to sort it out than Honda did - and I think the Sauber facility is at least as advanced as the one at Brackley, if not more so.

Undoubtedly there will be jobs lost there, and in Munich too, as the engine programme winds down, which is regrettable.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
Another question is where will Kubica and Heidfeld end up. The drivers market is still up in the air at this stage of the season so it's any ones guess.

If Renault don't bug out then I reckon they would be interested in Kubica but Heidfeld must be wondering what options he will have come next season. If I was his manager I would be beating a path to the door of the new teams right now.
 

FB

Not my cup of cake
Valued Member
I understand the reasons why BMW are pulling out, my point was more about why they have not been succesful. The privateer teams are typically based in the UK or Italy and have built up a network of suppliers and consultants to help them produce their cars where as Toyota and BMW/Sauber don't have that same support network where they are based. It doesn't really matter how big the budget is, if you don't the right people or the right advice the project is doomed to failure.

I think the next team to leave will probably be Toyota as Renault have at least had some success so may stick with it for a another season or two (this may depend on what Alonso does). It woudld be good if all the "grandee" teams at least continued as engine suppliers. Given that the engine rules are locked and their motors are all built and running they might even make a profit out of selling them to private teams?

Also agree with the comments about Heidfeld. I can imagine there will be teams interested in Kubica but Heidfeld's star has been on the wane (which is unfair as neither driver has performed well in this years car) and I can't imagine him finding a new berth unless at somewhere like Force India if Fissi finally does the decent thing and retires.
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
I see your point FB but I still don't think location is a bar to attracting top tallent. Being based in Italy shouldn't be any different than being based in Germany. If being in Italy is a boost then as well as Ferrari we should have seen a lot more success from teams such as Minardi or Modena Lamborgini. We live in a global society these days and most people are on the end of a computer or mobile.

I think it's more an issue of money. Toyota, Honda and BMW (to a less extent than the other two) arrived in F1 with the belief that if you threw enough cash at the problem it would solve itself.

Another issue that has hampered BMW is their decision to abandon the development of last years car when they were still on a competative level to concentrate on this years car. Just why they are so far off the pace this season as a result of that decision is also not clear.
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
So the big question is when are Renault going to announce their withdrawal?

I suspect they will be next followed soon after by Toyota.
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
The big question is whether or not there will be a buyer for the team. Is Sauber interested or could the race entry/cars be brought by someone like Prodrive for an attempt at 2010.

Kubica will have little problem finding a drive in F1 next year, and if I was involved in USF1 I would imagine Heidfeld to be a better option atm than Wurz or Villeneuve, ditto Manor & Campos.

I'm not prepared to discuss the Renault and Toyota situations, but if you are all right that they will be leaving then FOTA will be looking politically weak if they have only half the grid (albeit with the two teams who really matter in F1).

I wonder if anyone is going to be granted entry to bring the entrants back up to 26, or whether they'll need to buy BMW's old entry.
 

Speshal

World Champion
Valued Member
Apparently Toyota are committed to their future in F1 and will be signing the concord agreement in the next few days.

Autosport

Shame to see BMW go but as previously mentioned it appears that they have failed to live up to their expectations this season.

Is it too late in the day for any of the unlucky prospective entrants for next year (Lola et al) to cobble a car together?
 

Brogan

🦶 Leg end
Staff member
I still find the timing of BMW's announcement a little strange.

It's obvious they've been planning to withdraw for a while, this is not a decision made overnight.
That being the case, is it possible they had already reached this decision prior to the FIA announcing which teams had won a place on the 2010 grid?
If so, why not announce it earlier which would have allowed the FIA to grant another of the unsuccessful teams a slot?

Or is it that they were waiting for the FOTA breakaway to succeed and when it didn't they decided to call it a day?
 

teabagyokel

#dejavu
Valued Member
Speshal said:
Apparently Toyota are committed to their future in F1 and will be signing the concord agreement in the next few days.

Autosport

Shame to see BMW go but as previously mentioned it appears that they have failed to live up to their expectations this season.

Is it too late in the day for any of the unlucky prospective entrants for next year (Lola et al) to cobble a car together?
Thats a political matter imo, Super Aguri cobbled a team together in about 4 weeks!
 

cider_and_toast

Exulted Lord High Moderator of the Apex
Staff member
Premium Contributor
I know two men who were laughing into their cornflakes at yesterdays announcement. Sir Frank Williams KBE and Mr Patrick Head must be releived that they turned down the chance to become BMW-Williams. Especially as it now seems that the Williams team are starting to re-group and head towards the sharp end of the grid.

If they can maintain the progress towards the end of the season and carry it through to the next then I would expect Williams to be on the podium more frequently and maybe even sneek an unlikely win if the wind is blowing in the right direction. Key to this is where Rosberg will end up next season. If he leaves then Williams need to sign an equal or hopefully better replacement and there aren't too many of those around. Hmmmmm Robert Kubica is used to driving a blue and white car, I wonder what he's up to next season?
 

GeoffP

Thank you and good night
Contributor
Sorry about this, it just wouldn't stop going this one - must be a little pent up here :givemestrength: >:( ROFL

Just wondering, should we be celebrating?

When were BMW at their best in F1? When their engine was stuck in a Williams

Same with Mercedes and a host of other de-facto parts suppliers.

When was F1 most exciting? When quality parts were supplied by professional suppliers to specialist, genius teams who didn't have to answer to the motor trade, and whose budget restrictions meant their development was based on competitor's prior year cars and specific focus.

Sure F1 benefits from the technical advances made by these teams when they arrive with their wallets and egos, but that is what has levelled the field at making everyone able to do the same thing. The series has to be better with their absence as long as the infrastructure around it hasn't been too marred as a result of their presence.

There's the rub, for the smaller focused F1 team the 18/19 race calendar with globe trotting, night races, even the remote testing forced by current regulations will cost too much to support. Bernie in particular has pushed the series to the point where the commercial revenues and global commitment require teams to have a huge budget to support their entry. The FIA and Bernie need to look to themselves as to how they have changed the shape of the series as a result of the scale of the budgets instead of just slapping on restrictions to make the teams themselves change. How many teams could take part in the current style of series with a minor budget?

Personally I believe that if the FIA and Bernie really want a consistent and level playing field (never would happen, but theory's lovely) then F1 should be restricted to a 15/16 race series, local testing would be allowed and commercial revenues would be split evenly.

To control big budget teams, manufacturer entries would require a fee (or materially higher fee than independents), this should include those teams where a substantial portion of their budget was manufacturer sourced. Commercial revenues should be split evenly between the teams, with an agreed portion going to material component suppliers. A five year plan of forecasted revenues should be provided by the commercial rights holder and a three year plan of participants and schedules provided by the governing body. Manufacturer fees should be added to the commercial rights revenues thus smoothing the impact of their "frictional" participation. Oh, and no changes to specification regulations mid-season.

Naturally the exception to the "evil" manufacturers seem to have been Lotus and Ferrari (yes, Ferrari, they may have big budgets, but they have committed to the sport despite massive dry periods). I guess that's because F1 is a little more in line with their products than with the likes of Jaguar! I bought my first BMW in no small part as a result of BMW being the Williams engine, but the BMW team has really not encouraged me in the same way, if I could afford a Ferrari - it would.

Unfortunately I think Bernie and the FIA are shrewd enough to know that controversy generates interest and interest creates longevity, and so will want ongoing battles - bit like Eastenders for petrol heads! Bit of a bummer for those of us who support the racing more than the drivers, teams or controversy, coupled with the fact that their style of governance shows no loyalty to the participants that helped them to where they are.

Right, that's my piece :whistle:
 
Top Bottom