This probably won’t surprise many people, but BMW are quitting F1 at the end of 2009, it was announced yesterday.
Citing ever-growing economic concerns and their continued performance disappointments as well as the upcoming regulations changes for next year, board chairman Dr. Norbert Reithofer said this morning in a press conference in Munich that the company had decided its best option was to re-examine and refine its entire strategy, company-wide.
Dr. Mario Thiessen, BMW F1’s sporting director, offered a very well-nuanced statement regarding this news:
“Of course, we, the employees in Hinwil and Munich, would all have liked to continue this ambitious campaign and show that this season was just a hiccup following three successful years. But I can understand why this decision was made from a corporate perspective. We will now focus sharply on the remaining races and demonstrate our fighting spirit and put in a good result as we bid farewell to Formula 1 racing.”
No formal announcements have yet been made regarding what will happen with the team’s current assets after the season ends, nor where their drivers will go. Robert Kubica has indicated his interest in WRC, and it’s possible that he’d already be intimately familiar with the driving skill of at least one other competitor: Kimi Räikkönen will be contesting the WRC event at his home event of Rallye Finland starting this Thursday, in his very own Abarth Grande Punto.
Man, it’s been a busy news week in F1. You’d almost think CarEnvy.ca had become an all-F1 blog all the time, wouldn’t you? We promise we haven’t, but we’ve been so excited that we couldn’t resist rushing to our keyboards to pass on the news. Hopefully things will calm down a bit between now and the European GP—though, to be honest, we can’t even think what might be next. This season has seen a combination platter of at least one of every dramatic element possible—short of Bernie Ecclestone announcing that he’s having Max Mosley’s two-headed alien love-child. But perhaps I shouldn’t have written that, on the off-chance that it happens before the year is out.