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 Components 1 racing group from Hinwil has been there for the reason that first season within the premier class in 1993 and has loads of expertise in his virtually 30 years in Components 1.

Nick Heidfeld, Robert Kubica and Beat Zehnder

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

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He had essentially the most profitable season within the years for the BMW group between 2006 and 2009. In 2007 BMW-Sauber turned 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 gained the world championship title – if the Munich group had not ended its dedication abruptly after the 2009 season. “I believe that was the purpose,” Zehnder stated.

“Particularly in 2008” issues went “in the proper path”, he recollects and explains that due to the “monetary funding” of BMW at the moment, Sauber turned “one of many high groups” in Components 1.

BMW pulls out with out warning

“Sadly, we made a form of logical error with KERS in 2009. I believe we’re the one group with an air-cooled system,” stated Zehnder, who defined that the vitality 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 Components 1 on the finish of the summer time.

Picture gallery: The story of Sauber Motorsport

In accordance with Zehnder, there was no “warning” on the group on the time. “Under no circumstances [BMW-Motorsportdirektor] Mario Theissen was instructed,” he recollects, including that BMW solely knowledgeable Theissen of the choice “the day earlier than”.

From a sporting standpoint, Zehnder nonetheless considers the Components 1 exit to be a nasty resolution. “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 a substitute of combating for the world title within the years after 2009, the entire group virtually disappeared. “It was very troublesome,” Zehnder recollects. Ultimately, it was group founder Peter Sauber who purchased again the racing group.

“It wasn’t low cost,” factors out Zehnder, who remembers: “BMW invested rather a lot in services. We virtually doubled the variety of workplaces throughout this era.” Because of this, after the buyback, Sauber needed to minimize prices.

Pedro de la Rosa, Kamui Kobayashi

Within the 2010 season, Sauber had virtually no sponsors

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“It was essentially the most troublesome time for Peter and me, as a result of we needed to eliminate about 250 individuals. We needed to virtually scale 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 assist of BMW, it will not have been doable to proceed to guide the group at this stage – particularly since there have been virtually no sponsors within the 2010 season. “It was only a regular automobile aside from that [Werbe-]stickers,” he recollects.

Whereas BMW has not returned to Components 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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