In 1980, BMW announced entry into Formula One racing as an engine supplier. In 1991, a joint talent promotion campaign by BMW and ADAC (Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil Club) allowed Formula One drivers like Sebastian Vettel, Nico Rosberg, Timo Glock, Adrian Sutil, Ralf Schumacher and Christian Klien to learn the basics of Formula Racing. Then BMW scored ten victories when it Joined Williams F1 in the 2000 season. In the middle of 2005, BMW acquired the Swiss team Sauber, took to the starting grid, and collected a total of 19 Grand Prix wins. By 2008, the new BMW Sauber F1 Team had established itself as one of the top three teams.
Now BMW is putting a close to yet another chapter in its motor sports history. In a press conference on July 29th, BMW Group announced that they have decided to pull out of Formula One at the end of the 2009 season; dedicating these resources to the development of new drive technologies and projects in the field of sustainability.
The BMW Group is rolling out that strategy in all areas within the BMW Group. “In addition, we initiated an internal change process that goes hand in hand with a new mindset throughout our workforce.” says Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. C02 and other emission requirements standards in the UK continue to be reduced. However sportiness and dynamics remain key attributes of all BMW models, albeit paired with responsibility. Being the world’s leading premium car-company in the automotive industry, Reithofer says, “We believe that this demands accountability.”, and is convinced that they must remain a positive role model within our society.
“In line with our Strategy Number ONE, we are continually reviewing all projects and initiatives to check them for future viability and sustainability. We made this clear with the initial announcement of our Strategy Number ONE. And, naturally, this also includes motor sports. And I have always been clear about my position on making tough decisions that will help ensure the BMW Group’s success over the long run. As our company places stronger focus on sustainability initiatives, our participation in Formula One becomes less a key promoter of this engagement. It goes without saying that this step was very difficult for us – as well as for me personally. On behalf of the entire Board of Management, I would like to express our immense gratitude to Mario Theissen for his commitment and successes. Everyone knows that the BMW brand embodies sportiness with sheer driving pleasure. Sportiness and fair competition are firmly encoded in our DNA. This is why we will remain loyal to motor sports. But we will do this in series that enable us to transfer technology more directly and to realize additional synergies, while strengthening our brand values. This is in our customers’ best interest. As a company, we are making a paradigm shift based on our Strategy Number ONE. We are setting new priorities in an ever-changing environment.
Having had great success in touring car, sports car, rally and Formula Two racing, BMW reports they will continue participation in the Formula BMW, Touring Car, ALMS and endurance races as well as their increasing activity in close-to-production customer sports and the Super Bike World Championship.