Mario Theissen and Peter Sauber issued separate statements today on the future of BMW Sauber F1 team following BMW’s decision to quit Formula 1:
“Since the announcement on 29 July of our strategic realignment, we have done everything in our power to reach a rapid agreement on the sale of the team based at Hinwil. Regrettably, despite every effort, this has proved unsuccessful. The tight timeframe we faced simply did not allow us and the interested parties and investors enough time to find a solution for such a complex transaction. This means the team cannot sign the Concorde Agreement at present. The aim now is, over the coming weeks, to find a solution together with potential interested parties and Peter Sauber. Beyond that, we will see the 2009 season through to its conclusion with our unstinting sporting commitment.” – Mario Theissen
I think not too many people actually believed that any sort of takeover deal can be reached before the deadline for signing the Concorde Agreement (August 5th). All is not lost however for the Hinwill based team. They do have the support of FOTA as is clear from yesterday FOTA press release on the new Concorde Agreement:
The Formula One Teams Association (FOTA) today welcomed the successful conclusion of negotiations leading to the signing of the 2009 Concorde Agreement.
Signed by all Formula One teams, with the only exception of BMW-Sauber AG, the FIA, and Formula One Administration (FOA), Concorde 2009 lays down the commercial and regulatory guidelines for Formula 1 whilst guaranteeing the teams’ participation until the end of the 2012 season.
FOTA will support any initiative which would allow BMW-Sauber AG to reapply for full participation within the new Concorde Agreement.
All Formula One teams have together reached a voluntary agreement on their own, which will put into practice FOTA’s long-standing objective gradually to reduce overall spending, eventually to around the levels of the early 1990s.
The terms of Concorde 2009 will reinvigorate the role of the Formula 1 Commission, and various other Working Groups. The Formula 1 Commission will henceforth be a key decision-making body for change in Formula 1.
FOTA’s attention will now turn to other issues we believe to be in the long-term interest of F1: racing at the best tracks, in front of the biggest audiences and expanding F1’s reach.
The teams interested in 2010 F1 entry (not in BMW Sauber takeover) would probably like the matters to be cleared up quickly. The longer it takes the more unlikely it is for a team like Epsilon Euskadi for example (a team that already expressed interest in BMW Sauber’s spot on the grid) to get ready for 2010 …
Peter Sauber, 20% shareholder in BMW Sauber and founder of the original Sauber team, blames too high demands from BMW for failure of his takeover bid:
“Following the announcement by BMW that it will be pulling out of Formula 1 at the end of the 2009 season, I tried to launch a takeover and rescue of the team.
However, the negotiations with BMW have failed because the demands were simply far too high for me. Consequently, I have been unable to sign the Concorde Agreement, which guarantees payments worth millions and would have secured the future of the team.
I am incredibly disappointed and disconsolate. For me this is the bitterest day in my 40-year career in motor sport. It is also a devastating setback for the team.
“Other solutions must now be sought. The responsibility for that lies in the hands of BMW. Needless to say, I am willing to help, as before.”
Photo: BMW Motorsport