Beat Zehnder is a real Sauber veteran. The present sporting director of the Formula 1 racing group from Hineville has been there for the reason that first season within the firstclass in 1993 and has gained quite a lot of expertise throughout his virtually 30 years in Formula 1.
It skilled essentially 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 one victory within the historical past of the racing group and fought for the world championship. for a very long time.
Zehnder instructed the Beyond the Grid podcast that BMW would have received the world title – had the Munich group not abruptly ended its dedication after the 2009 season. “I feel it was a transparent aim,” Zechder mentioned.
“Especially in 2008” issues have been “getting into the proper route”, he recollects, explaining that because of BMW’s “monetary funding” on the time, Sauber grew to become “one of many prime groups” in Formula 1.
The BMW pulled out with out warning
“Unfortunately, we made a conceptual mistake with KERS in 2009. I feel we have been the one group with air cooling,” mentioned Zechder, who explains that the power restoration system “overheated” completely.
The consequence: They fell to sixth place within the world championship and the financial disaster on the time, mixed with poor outcomes, ensured that BMW pulled the plug and introduced in the summertime that it might withdraw from Formula 1 on the finish of the 12 months.
According to Zehnder, there was no “warning” to the group on the time. “Not as soon as [BMW-Motorsportdirektor] Mario Theissen was knowledgeable,” he recollects, including that BMW solely knowledgeable Theissen “a day earlier than” of the choice.
From a purely sporting perspective, Zechder nonetheless believes that leaving Formula 1 was the improper determination. “If BMW had stayed on board, I’m certain we’d have been world champions eventually,” he explains.
Savings after shopping for a Sauber
But within the years after 2009, as an alternative of preventing for the title of world champion, the entire group virtually disappeared. “It was very tight,” Zehnder recollects. It was group founder Peter Sauber who ultimately purchased the racing group.
“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.
“It was some of the troublesome instances for each Peter and me, as a result of we needed to lay off about 250 folks. We needed to cut back the scale of the corporate virtually in half. It was troublesome,” admits Zehder. Because behind each worker there was a household.
However, with out the help of BMW, it might not have been attainable to proceed working the group at this stage – particularly since there have been virtually no sponsors for the 2010 season. “It was only a regular automobile with out it [Werbe-]labels,” he recollects.
Although BMW has not returned to Formula 1 to this present day, the group survived. Originally as Sauber, from 2019 the racing group started as Alfa Romeo. Always Have: Hit the Zehnder.