JULY 17, 2007

Rival teams pillage BMW Sauber

While Ferrari and McLaren are busy scrapping over who knew what and when, the BMW Sauber team is finding itself under attack from other teams, who want to get the best people out of the Swiss operation, which is currently running a strong third in the Constructors' Championship.

The team has already lost chief designer Jorg Zander and senior aerodynamicist John Owen to Honda and Martin Bester, another aerodynamicist, to Williams. We hear that there is more to come with the latest rumours suggesting that South African aerodynamicist Dirk de Beer, who has done much of the development on the current car, is on his way to Renault F1 to take the management of the aerodynamic programme, a job which is currently being done by deputy technical director James Allison.

We have also heard that the BMW Sauber aerodynamic manager Enrico Casalgrandi may also be on the move.

If all of this is confirmed the team is going to be rather short of senior aerodynamic engineers, although longtime aerodynamic chief Seamus Mullarkey is still there and Willem Toet is also on the staff.