BMW-Sauber “undoubtedly would have been world champion”

BMW-Sauber “undoubtedly would have been world champion”

( – Beat Zehnder is a Sauber veteran. The present sporting director of the System 1 racing group from Hinwil has been there for the reason that first season within the premier class in 1993 and has numerous expertise in his virtually 30 years in System 1.

Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Beat Zehnder

Beat Zehnder (proper) instances BMW-Sauber and Robert Kubica

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He had probably the most profitable season within the BMW years of the group between 2006 and 2009. In 2007 BMW-Sauber grew to become the world champion, a 12 months later Robert Kubica took the one victory within the historical past of the racing group and fought for the world championship. very long time.

And within the ‘Past the Grid’ podcast, Zehnder reveals that BMW may have received the world championship title – if the Munich group had not ended its dedication out of the blue after the 2009 season. “I feel that was the objective,” Zehnder mentioned.

“Particularly in 2008” issues went “in the correct course”, he recollects and explains that due to the “monetary funding” of BMW at the moment, Sauber grew to become “one of many prime groups” in System 1.

BMW pulls out with out warning

“Sadly, we made a type of logical error with KERS in 2009. I feel we’re the one group with an air-cooled system,” mentioned Zehnder, who defined that the power restoration system was “extreme” completely.

The outcome: Within the World Championship, they fell to sixth place and the financial disaster on the time, mixed with poor outcomes, ensured that BMW pulled the plug and introduced its exit from System 1 on the finish of the summer time.

Picture gallery: The story of Sauber Motorsport

In response to Zehnder, there was no “warning” on the group on the time. “In no way [BMW-Motorsportdirektor] Mario Theissen was advised,” he recollects, including that BMW solely knowledgeable Theissen of the choice “the day earlier than”.

From a sporting standpoint, Zehnder nonetheless considers System 1’s exit a nasty determination. “I am positive if BMW had been on board, we might have been world champions very quickly,” he explains.

Strict measures after buyback by Sauber

However as an alternative of combating for the world title within the years after 2009, the entire group virtually disappeared. “It was very troublesome,” Zehnder recollects. Finally, it was group founder Peter Sauber who purchased again the racing group.

“It wasn’t low-cost,” factors out Zehnder, who remembers: “BMW invested so much in services. We virtually doubled the variety of workplaces throughout this era.” Consequently, after the buyback, Sauber needed to reduce prices.

Pedro de la Rosa, Kamui Kobayashi

Within the 2010 season, Sauber had virtually no sponsors zoom in

“It was probably the most troublesome time for Peter and me, as a result of we needed to eliminate about 250 individuals. We needed to virtually cut back the scale of the corporate. That was troublesome,” admits Zehnder. As a result of behind each job there was a household.

With out the help of BMW, it could not have been attainable to proceed main the group at this stage – particularly since there have been virtually no sponsors within the 2010 season. “It was only a regular automotive from the skin [Werbe-]stickers,” he recollects.

Whereas BMW has not returned to System 1 to this present day, the group has survived. First as Sauber, since 2019 the racing group has been initially as Alfa Romeo. All the time: Beat Zehnder.

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