JULY 29, 2009
BMW quits F1
BMW will not continue its Formula 1 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.
"Of course, this was a difficult decision for us. But it's a resolute step in view of our company's strategic realignment," explained Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman
of the Board of Management of BMW AG. "Premium will increasingly be defined
in terms of sustainability and environmental compatibility. This is an area in which
we want to remain in the lead. In line with our Strategy Number ONE, we are
continually reviewing all projects and initiatives to check them for future viability
and sustainability. Our Formula One campaign is thus less a key promoter for us.
Mario Theissen has been in charge of our motor sports program since 1999. We
have scored a large number of successes in this period, including some in
Formula One racing. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mario
Theissen and his team for this," said Reithofer.
Dr. Klaus Draeger, the member of the Board of Management responsible for
development, said: "It only took us three years to establish ourselves as a top
team with the BMW Sauber F1 Team. Unfortunately, we were unable to meet
expectations in the current season. Nevertheless, our ten years of Formula One
experience have had a major impact on our development engineers. We have racing to thank for numerous technological innovations as well as the competitive spirit that drives us to develop mass-produced cars."
Possible redundancies in Munich and Hinwil cannot be quantified at present.
"Since we only made this decision yesterday, we cannot provide any more precise information. We will develop and assess various scenarios and do our best to find a solution for the employees in Hinwil and the staff members involved in the Formula 1 project in Munich. We are aware of the responsibility we shoulder and will inform the staff as soon as we can make a clear statement," Draeger said.
"Of course, we, the employees in Hinwil and Munich, would all have liked to continue this ambitious campaign and show that this season was just a hiccup following three successful years," said Theissen. "But I can understand why this decision was made from a corporate perspective. We will now focus sharply on the remaining races and demonstrate our fighting spirit and put in a good result as we bid farewell to Formula 1 racing."
BMW will continue its programs in a number of motor sports series: BMW will appear on the starting grid in the touring car series and young driver promotion program in Formula BMW. This will be supplemented by BMW's participation in ALMS, the American Le Mans Series, endurance races and close-to-production customer sports.