BMW-Sauber would be the “undisputed world champion”.

( – Beat Zehnder is a real Sauber veteran. The present sporting director of the Formula 1 racing staff from Hineville has been there since the first season in the first-class in 1993 and has gained plenty of expertise throughout his virtually 30 years in Formula 1.

Zehnder (proper) was overwhelmed by BMW-Sauber with Robert Kubica on time



It skilled the most profitable interval in BMW years from 2006 to 2009. In 2007, BMW-Sauber was the vice-champion, and a 12 months later Robert Kubica received the solely victory in the historical past of the racing staff and fought for the world championship. for a very long time.

Zehnder informed the Beyond the Grid podcast that BMW would have received the world title – had the Munich staff not abruptly ended its dedication after the 2009 season. “I believe it was a transparent aim,” Zechder mentioned.

“Especially in 2008” issues have been “getting into the proper path”, he recollects, explaining that due to BMW’s “monetary funding” at the time, Sauber grew to become “certainly one of the high groups” in Formula 1.

The BMW pulled out with out warning

“Unfortunately, we made a conceptual mistake with KERS in 2009. I believe we have been the solely staff with air cooling,” mentioned Zechder, who explains that the power restoration system “overheated” completely.

The consequence: They fell to sixth place in the world championship and the financial disaster at the time, mixed with poor outcomes, ensured that BMW pulled the plug and introduced in the summer time that it would withdraw from Formula 1 at the finish of the 12 months.

Photo gallery: Sauber Motorsport historical past

According to Zehnder, there was no “warning” to the staff at the time. “Not as soon as [BMW-Motorsportdirektor] Mario Theissen was knowledgeable,” he recollects, including that BMW solely knowledgeable Theissen “the day earlier than” of the resolution.

From a purely sporting perspective, Zechder nonetheless believes that leaving Formula 1 was the improper resolution. “If BMW had stayed on board, I’m positive we would have been world champions eventually,” he explains.

Savings after shopping for a Sauber

But in the years after 2009, as an alternative of combating for the title of world champion, the entire staff virtually disappeared. “It was very tight,” Zehnder recollects. It was staff founder Peter Sauber who ultimately purchased the racing staff.

“It wasn’t low-cost,” Zehnder recollects: “BMW spent some huge cash on amenities. During this time, we virtually doubled the variety of jobs.” As a consequence, after the acquisition, Sauber first needed to minimize prices.

Pedro de la Rosa, Kamui Kobayashi

In the 2010 season, Sauber had virtually no sponsors



“It was certainly one of the most troublesome instances for each Peter and me, as a result of we needed to lay off about 250 folks. We needed to scale back the dimension of the firm virtually in half. It was troublesome,” admits Zehder. Because behind each worker there was a household.

However, with out the help of BMW, it would not have been doable to proceed operating the staff at this degree – particularly since there have been virtually no sponsors for the 2010 season. “It was only a regular automotive with out it [Werbe-]labels,” he recollects.

Although BMW has not returned to Formula 1 to at the present time, the staff survived. First as Sauber, from 2019 the racing staff began as Alfa Romeo. Always Have: Hit the Zehnder.


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