Detroit Bureau on Twitter

BMW Sells Formula One Team Back to Sauber

One-third of workers are immediately sacked. Agreement is contingent on having a starting place for 2010 racing season.

by on Nov.30, 2009

t

Whether a place on the grid is offered to Sauber remains to be seen, as the costly and scandal wracked business continues to be roiled by defections of major automakers.

BMW AG agreed to sell its 80% ownership in the BMW Sauber F1 Team to founder and former owner Peter Sauber at the end of last week.

The contract is subject to the team having a starting place for the 2010 Formula One season, which up to this point is unknown  because the sanctioning body, Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile, mistrusted the proposed mid-east financing of a restructured team. This previous announced deal from a murky mid-east based company called Qadbak Investment Ltd is now off.

Whether a place on the grid is offered to Sauber remains to be seen, as the costly and scandal wracked business continues to be roiled by defections of major automakers, among them Honda, Toyota, BMW and tire supplier Bridgestone. Renault is also said to be examining its costly participation.

Racing Views!

Racing Views!

Moreover, Ferrari, the unquestioned superstar marque of the series among fans, is apoplectic about one proposal to cut the obscene costs that are driving other makers away. It would see a spec engine replace the highly specialized, breathtakingly expensive, custom engines now in use. Ferrari’s entire marketing plan is based on its often-successful participation in Formula One, of course.

Bernie Ecclestone, the  billionaire who owns the rights to F1, has said in the past that without Ferrari there would be no series. Ferrari already receives a larger share of the series profits under a previous agreement. Team owners recently rejected a proposal by Ecclestone that they too would also receive a greater share of the series profits.

One of the first actions of the new Sauber team was to dismiss 138 workers of 388 at the Hinwil shop.

BMW in a statement said it “regrets the need for these personnel cutbacks and will support the restructuring. At this moment in time, due to the aforementioned restructuring of the team, it is not possible to exclude the possibility of further redundancies in the near future.”

Peter Sauber added, “”I am very relieved that we have found this solution. It means we can keep the Hinwil location and the majority of workplaces. I am convinced that the new team has a very good future in Formula One, whose current transformation with new framework conditions will benefit the private teams. Our staff here are highly competent and motivated, and I look forward to taking on this new challenge together with them. I would like to thank BMW for four shared years that have in the main been very successful.”

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.