|Full Name||BMW Sauber F1 Team|
|Noted Staff||Mario Theissen|
|Noted Drivers||Nick Heidfeld|
|Formula One World Championship|
|Debut||2006 Bahrain Grand Prix|
|Final race||2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix|
BMW bought Swiss team Sauber in June 2005 to form the BMW Sauber F1 Team. The takeover came after BMW's relationship with Williams had deteriorated in the previous months, the partnership ending at the end of the 2005 season. The team was based at Sauber's headquarters in Hinwil, Switzerland and BMW's headquarters in Munich, Germany.
The team scored two podium finishes and came fifth in 2006, its first season in Formula One. This was followed by a second place in 2007 after the McLaren team had been excluded from the championship. Polish driver Robert Kubica took the team's only Grand Prix victory at the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix. Following a poor 2009 season, BMW withdrew from Formula One and sold the team back to founder Peter Sauber.
Racing History: Formula OneEdit
For the 2006 season, BMW Sauber signed Nick Heidfeld from Williams to be the lead driver, while 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve had his existing two-year contract with Sauber honoured. Robert Kubica was signed as the team's third driver. The team continued to use Sauber's facilities, mostly for chassis construction and wind tunnel testing, while BMW's headquarters in Munich were responsible for building the new 2.4 litre P86 V8 engine, revised technical regulations forcing a change from the 3 litre V10 formula. This replaced the Petronas-badged Ferrari engines which the team had used since 1997. The Sauber team's existing major sponsors, Petronas and Credit Suisse, renewed their contracts with BMW. The team also announced a technical partnership with technology company Intel. The team's new livery, which was maintained throughout its tenure in Formula One, consisted of the traditional BMW blue and white with a hint of red.
Villeneuve scored the team's first points with a seventh place finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix, after Heidfeld retired from fifth with an engine failure late in the race. Over the first two thirds of the season the drivers picked up points with a succession of seventh and eighth place finishes, plus a fourth-place finish for Heidfeld at the Australian Grand Prix. The team ran a radical "twin towers" aero enhancement on the front of the car for the French Grand Prix, which was meant improve the flow of air over the top of the chassis. The parts were promptly banned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) as they were adjudged to impede the drivers' vision and thus compromise safety.
Heidfeld scored the team's first podium finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix from tenth on the grid. This race also saw the début of Robert Kubica, who replaced Villeneuve after the latter had crashed heavily at the preceding German Grand Prix. Kubica finished seventh, although he was later disqualified after his car was found to be underweight. The official reason for Villeneuve's absence was that he was recovering from his previous accident, but the team later announced that the driver change was permanent. Kubica scored BMW Sauber's second podium finish of the season at the Italian Grand Prix, after running in third place for most of the race and leading briefly during the first round of pit stops. Heidfeld finished in eighth, but set the team's first fastest lap. The team scored a total of 36 points to finish fifth in the Constructors' Championship, an improvement on Sauber's eighth position with 20 points in 2005.
On 19 October 2006, BMW announced that Robert Kubica would partner Nick Heidfeld for the 2007 Formula One season with Sebastian Vettel taking the test and reserve driver role. Timo Glock was later signed as the team's second test driver. The team launched its 2007 car, the F1.07, on January 16, 2007.
The new car showed promising form throughout winter testing, topping the times sheets on occasions. However, team principal Mario Theissen declared some reliability concerns before the season's opening race in Australia. Kubica retired from fourth place with a gearbox problem, but Heidfeld took over the position and held it to the end of the race. In the early races of the season, Heidfeld and Kubica scored a series of points finishes and established BMW Sauber as the third-fastest team, behind Ferrari and McLaren. Theissen also made the point that the performance gap between BMW Sauber and the two top teams was less than the gap between BMW Sauber and the teams behind it.
The Canadian Grand Prix brought mixed fortunes for the team. While Heidfeld scored BMW Sauber's best result thus far with a second place finish, Kubica suffered a huge crash that resulted in a long safety car period. The media was initially told Kubica had broken his leg, but it later proved that he had escaped with only a sprained ankle and concussion. Vettel took his place in the United States Grand Prix, finishing in eighth place and therefore becoming the youngest driver to score a Formula One World Championship point. Later in the season, Vettel moved teams to take a race seat at the Toro Rosso team.
Kubica returned to racing action at the French Grand Prix and proved his recovery by finishing in fourth position. Over the remainder of the season, he and Heidfeld continued their form to score a total of 101 points, which secured the team second in the Constructors' Championship after McLaren's disqualification. Heidfeld scored another podium finish at the Hungarian Grand Prix and scored 61 points to Kubica's 39, while Vettel's sole appearance produced an additional point.
On August 21, 2007, BMW confirmed its driver line-up of Heidfeld and Kubica for the 2008season. Their 2008 car, the F1.08 was officially launched in Munich at BMW Welt on January 14, 2008. It made its track debut at Valencia the next day, with Robert Kubica driving. Team principal Mario Theissen set the target of the team's first win.
BMW Sauber started the season well with Kubica narrowly missing out on pole after a mistake in his main qualifying lap in Melbourne. He later retired after being hit by Kazuki Nakajima but Heidfeld finished second. Kubica took second in Malaysia, with Heidfeld in 6th setting the fastest lap of the race. The team's points total of 11 was their largest score up to that time. In Bahrain, Kubica scored his and the team's first ever pole position, beating Felipe Massa by just under three hundredths of a second. The team went on to finish 3rd and 4th in the race, equalling their highest round points total and promoting them to first place in the constructors' championship for the first time.
BMW Sauber's first race victory came in the 2008 Canadian Grand Prix, the team achieving a one-two finish with Robert Kubica's first race win and Nick Heidfeld taking second place. The victory came after Lewis Hamilton collided with Kimi Räikkönen in the pitlane, ending the race for both drivers. Kubica was on a different refueling strategy from Heidfeld, who also briefly led the race before securing the one-two finish for BMW Sauber in comfortable fashion.
After the team's breakthrough win, development was switched to the 2009 season where new regulations come into play. This greatly annoyed Kubica, (who was leading the championship after the Canadian Grand Prix), as he felt they could have had a realistic chance of taking at least one title. The lack of development was reflected with a drop of form throughout the second half of the season, causing BMW to be outpaced by Renault, Toyota and even Toro Rosso (who started the season as one of the slowest teams) by the end of the season. Despite this, Kubica remained with an outside chance of taking the drivers championship until the Chinese Grand Prix, the 17th round out of 18.
Although BMW Sauber targeted the 2009 season as the year they would challenge for the title, their start to the season was a disappointment. Kubica was running in 3rd place in the opening round when he collided with Vettel while battling for 2nd place and was forced to retire. Heidfeld then secured the team's first podium of the year in Malaysia, but after 6 races BMW Sauber had collected a mere 6 points, and occupied 8th place in the Constructors' Championship out of 10 teams. A raft of upgrades were set for Turkey, including an improved regenerative braking system (KERS) and a double deck diffuser. While the new diffuser was implemented, the KERS could not be made to fit the new car and both drivers raced without the device. After the qualifying session for the British Grand Prix Mario Theissen announced that the team had decided to halt further development KERS; of which BMW had been one of the strongest proponents, and focus instead on improving the car's aerodynamics. This left Ferrari and McLaren as the only remaining users of the KERS system. In the European Grand Prix at Valencia Robert Kubica scored the team's first points since the race in Turkey.
Following a meeting of the BMW board on July 28, the company held at press conference the following morning in which it confirmed the team's withdrawal from Formula One at the end of 2009. Chairman Dr Norbert Reithofer described the decision as a strategic one. The Formula One Teams Associationreleaseda statement in response pledging its support to help the team remain in F1. On 15 September 2009 it was announced that BMW Sauber had secured a buyer, Qadbak Investments Limited which said to represent European and Middle Eastern interests. However Lotus had been given the 13th and final slot in the 2010 Championship. The team were awarded what was termed a 14th entry, which hinges either on another team dropping out or all the other teams agreeing to allow 28 cars to enter the 2010 Championship.
On November 22, Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung revealed that Qadbak's attempt to purchase the team had failed as it did not have the necessary funds. Qadbak turned out to be a shell company with no assets and no investors behind it. On November 27, 2009 it was announced that Peter Sauber would repurchase the team conditional upon the team receiving a FIA entry for the 2010 season. The FIA subsequently granted Sauber an entry on December 3. The team used Ferrari engines in 2010
Complete Formula One resultsEdit
Main article: BMW Grand Prix results
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position; results in italics indicate fastest lap)
|2006||BMW Sauber F1.06||BMW P86 V8||M||BHR||MAL||AUS||SMR||EUR||ESP||MON||GBR||CAN||USA||FRA||GER||HUN||TUR||ITA||CHN||JPN||BRA||36||5th|
|2007||BMW Sauber F1.07||BMW P86/7 V8||B||AUS||MAL||BHR||ESP||MON||CAN||USA||FRA||GBR||EUR||HUN||TUR||ITA||BEL||JPN||CHN||BRA||101||2nd|
|2008||BMW Sauber F1.08||BMW P86/8 V8||B||AUS||MAL||BHR||ESP||TUR||MON||CAN||FRA||GBR||GER||HUN||EUR||BEL||ITA||SIN||JPN||CHN||BRA||135||3rd|
|2009||BMW Sauber F1.09||BMW P86/9 V8||B||AUS||MAL||CHN||BHR||ESP||MON||TUR||GBR||GER||HUN||EUR||BEL||ITA||SIN||JPN||BRA||ABU||36||6th|
‡ Half points awarded as less than 75% of race distance was completed.