There have been speculations about more manufacturers following Honda out of F1 but the teams talked about were Toyota and Renault. The sudden (?) decision of BMW to end its involvement in Formula One came as a surprise or a bit of a shock. So why have they decided to quit and why so suddenly ?
About eight months after Honda pulled the plug on Formula One another manufacturer announced its F1 exit. Here is the full news as published by BMW short while ago:
The BMW Group will not continue its Formula One campaign after the end of the 2009 season. Resources freed up as a result are to be dedicated to the development of new drive technologies and projects in the field of sustainability. BMW will continue to be actively involved in other motor sports series. The landmark decision to restructure BMW Motorsport’s activities was made at the Board of Management’s meeting yesterday.
BMW has called an emergency press conference for Wednesday. Dr. Norbert Reithofer, the chairman of the BMW board, Dr. Klaus Draeger, the director for development, and Mario Theissen, BMW motorsport director will be present. There hasn’t been any confirmation what will the press conference be about other than we can expect imporatant news. The fact that BMW is sending its top brass to attend indeed suggests that we are in for some big news.
We will see more when the BMW top guns assemble in Munich later today and tell us what is on their mind. But the expectations are that BMW is about to follow Honda and pull out from Formula One …
The World Motor Sport Council met in Paris on 24 June 2009. The following decisions were taken:
FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP
All currently competing teams have committed to the FIA Formula One World Championship.
There will be no alternative series or championship and the rules for 2010 onwards will be the 2009 regulations as well as further regulations agreed prior to 29 April 2009.
As part of this agreement, the teams will, within two years, reduce the costs of competing in the championship to the level of the early 1990s. The manufacturer teams have agreed to assist the new entries for 2010 by providing technical assistance.
The manufacturer teams have further agreed to the permanent and continuing role of the FIA as the sport’s governing body. They have also committed to the commercial arrangements for the FIA Formula One World Championship until 2012 and have agreed to renegotiate and extend this contract before the end of that period.
All teams will adhere to an upgraded version of the governance provisions of the 1998 Concorde Agreement.
The following teams have been accepted for the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship.
SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO (FERRARI)
VODAFONE McLAREN MERCEDES (McLAREN MERCEDES)
BMW SAUBER F1 TEAM (BMW SAUBER)
RENAULT F1 TEAM (RENAULT)
PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING (TOYOTA)
SCUDERIA TORO ROSSO (STR TBA)
RED BULL RACING (RBR TBA)
AT&T WILLIAMS (WILLIAMS TOYOTA)
FORCE INDIA F1 TEAM (FORCE INDIA MERCEDES)
BRAWN GP FORMULA ONE TEAM (BRAWN TBA)
CAMPOS META TEAM (CAMPOS COSWORTH)
MANOR GRAND PRIX (MANOR COSWORTH)
TEAM US F1 (TEAM US F1 COSWORTH)
In view of this new agreement and with the prospect of a stable future for Formula One, FIA President Max Mosley has confirmed his decision not to stand for re-election in October this year.
As the biggest number of visitors to this site comes from United Kingdom I believe that the British Grand Prix is the race of the season that most regular or ocassional readers may actually go to. For those who plan to go and want to show up in their favourite team colours, here are the links to 2009 F1 teams merchandise:
Brawn GP is probably the most popular team when it comes to merchandise these days. One of the reasons may be that the team is new and nobody has any caps or shirts from previous seasons . But their popularity also has something to do with the team’s performances … The latest addition to their products range is the Jenson Button flag.
Interesting day in Barcelona yesterday. Toro Rosso introduced their new car, STR4, a car made in Faenza that “is not a rebadged RB5″. Jenson Button and Brawn GP raised some eyebrows by spending most of the day at the top of the time sheets. At the end the honour of being the fastest driver of the day went to Nick Heidfeld for his 1:20.338 lap. Raikkonen’s Ferrarri and Trulli’s Toyota were about 6 tenths behind. This may suggest that Heidfeld (same as Vettel last week in Jerez) did a low fuel qualifying run. Only 2 tenths further back was Jenson Button.
Most of Formula One fans knew that the 2009 Formula One cars will be quite different than their predecessors. But as teams kept their ideas to themselves we could all only guess how the new cars will look.
I summarized all the main differences between 2009 and 2008 cars back in August in the post 2009 Formula 1 cars look – The most obvious differences. Around the same time this 2009 F1 car visual appeared all over F1 forums:
There was not much talk about more teams leaving Formula One for quite some time. The cost saving measures seemed to have done the trick. But last few days the F1 exit talks surfaced again. The 2009 season seems to be the make or break for Toyota. Some fresh rumours surfaced also about future of Renault (not sure how much of this is true and how much is made up), Pitpass also raised some concern about Force India finances … Well, in market conditions as we see right now, there is always the possibility of somebody following Honda and exiting F1. Bernie Ecclestone already told us whom he would miss and whom he would not want to loose:
The introduction of KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) into Formula 1 has turned into rather controversial issue. One hand this brainchild of Max Mosley is here to show to the outside world how green and road relevant F1 can be. On the other hand this for F1 new technology has been a massive drain on financial resources of the teams at the time when FIA , FOTA and even Bernie Ecclestone talk about need to drastically reduce the cost of Formula One.
The 2009 launch season continues with launch of BMW Sauber F1.09 in Valencia. The car is very similar to the very first hybrid tested in Barcelona in 2008. I must say, BMW Sauber is not the best looking 2009 Formula One car … It does look better than Renault though.
The traditional blue-white BMW livery looks rather empty after departure of their long time sponsor Credit Suisse … Here are the first pictures:
The BMW Sauber team bosses are generally happy with the 2008 season. They are also happy with the overall progress of the team since the purchase of Sauber by BMW after 2005 season. Mario Theissen:
“BMW kept its schedule that was set in 2005 after acquiring Sauber: to be in the points in 2006, to be on the podium in 2007, to be on the top podium 2008. We made the two-way title campaign a three-way battle in the first half of the season. We did not have the fastest car in 2008, but the overall package counts. Reliability was an issue in 2007 and our focus on this in 2008 paid off as we had no single retirement because of a technical failure.”
(Updated, more pictures added including Honda 2009 wing)
The winter testing for 2009 Formula One season begins in Barcelona today. The are is some added excitement about the testing this winter as all the teams will have to come up with brand new cars for next season, very different from the 2008 Formula 1 machinery. So far all we have had were speculations, more speculations, and few photos of Williams wings. Today BMW Sauber put their new wings to test (and public display) – large, wide and low front wing, small, narrow and high rear wing. That “Credit Suisse” painted part of the front wing seems to the movable one. All the winglets, horns and mini fins are gone. They still however run the car with grooved tyres, but those will not be used in Formula 1 from 2009 season.