Ahead of BMW Sauber’s last Grand Prix this weekend, BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen has reflected on the team’s achievements during their four-year foray in Formula One racing. BMW announced in July that they would end their in involvement in the sport at the end of the 2009 season. The team has since been sold to new investors, but has yet to be granted a championship entry for 2010.

BMW took over Sauber in 2006 and enjoyed a positive first season, finishing fifth in the constructors’ championship. In 2007 the team went from strength to strength, scoring in all 17 races. And last year they became title contenders, with Robert Kubica clinching their first win at the Canadian Grand Prix.


“With the exception of our fourth and unfortunately final season, I’m more than satisfied with what we have achieved since 2006,” said Theissen. “In the first three years after the team was founded, we met – and even exceeded – all the aims we set ourselves. We recorded two podium finishes in our first season on the grid, and in our second season we established ourselves as the third-strongest team in the championship.

“It was in Montreal a year later that we enjoyed our greatest success. From the moment that Robert and Nick (Heidfeld) crossed the finish line in quick succession to record a one-two result, there was no stopping us. We remained part of a three-way battle for the title almost until the end of the season. We notched up 11 podium finishes in total in 2008 and our reliability was excellent.”

Although they have found the going a lot tougher this season, scoring just 32 points to date, they enjoyed a successful outing at the last race in Brazil, where Kubica took well-deserved second place. And Theissen is hopeful the team will do themselves justice at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Grand Prix this weekend, despite knowing that their 70th race will also be the swansong for BMW Sauber in its current form.

“We will travel to Abu Dhabi with mixed feelings,” he concluded. “The eight points we collected in Brazil have allowed us to move up a place in the constructors’ championship, and we will be highly motivated once again at the final race of the season. However, there will of course also be a fair amount of sadness within the team as we set off for Abu Dhabi.

“Of course, the whole team is disappointed that we have been unable to build on this success in 2009, as we had hoped to have a say in the title race. But we have never thrown in the towel, even after BMW announced its withdrawal from Formula One, which shows the strong character of our team. I hope that the successor to the BMW Sauber F1 Team will continue along this successful path in Formula One.”


Source : formula1.com