BMW-Sauber would be the “undisputed world champion”.

( – Beat Zehnder is a real Sauber veteran. The present sporting director of the Formula 1 racing workforce from Hineville has been there since the first season in the firstclass in 1993 and has gained numerous expertise throughout his nearly 30 years in Formula 1.

Zehnder (proper) was crushed by BMW-Sauber with Robert Kubica on time


It skilled the most profitable interval in BMW years from 2006 to 2009. In 2007, BMW-Sauber was the vice-champion, and a yr later Robert Kubica received the solely victory in the historical past of the racing workforce and fought for the world championship. for a very long time.

Zehnder advised the Beyond the Grid podcast that BMW would have received the world title – had the Munich workforce not abruptly ended its dedication after the 2009 season. “I feel it was a transparent purpose,” Zechder mentioned.

“Especially in 2008” issues have been “stepping into the proper route”, he remembers, explaining that due to BMW’s “monetary funding” at the time, Sauber turned “one in every of the high 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 solely workforce with air cooling,” mentioned Zechder, who explains that the power restoration system “overheated” completely.

The end result: They fell to sixth place in the world championship and the financial disaster at the time, mixed with poor outcomes, ensured that BMW pulled the plug and introduced in the summer time that it would withdraw from Formula 1 at the finish of the yr.

Photo gallery: Sauber Motorsport historical past

Zehnder mentioned there was “no warning” to the workforce at the time. “Not as soon as [BMW-Motorsportdirektor] Mario Theissen was knowledgeable,” he remembers, including that BMW solely knowledgeable Theissen “a day earlier than” of the resolution.

From a purely sporting viewpoint, Zechder nonetheless believes that leaving Formula 1 was the mistaken resolution. “If BMW had stayed on board, I’m certain we would have been world champions eventually,” he explains.

Savings after shopping for a Sauber

But in the years after 2009, as an alternative of preventing for the title of world champion, the entire workforce nearly disappeared. “It was very tight,” Zehnder remembers. It was workforce founder Peter Sauber who ultimately purchased the racing workforce.

“It wasn’t low cost,” Zehnder remembers: “BMW spent some huge cash on services. During this time, we nearly doubled the variety of jobs.” As a end result, after the acquisition, Sauber first needed to minimize prices.

Pedro de la Rosa, Kamui Kobayashi

In the 2010 season, Sauber had nearly no sponsors scaling

“It was one in every of the most troublesome occasions for each Peter and me, as a result of we needed to lay off about 250 folks. We needed to cut back the dimension of the firm by nearly half. It was troublesome,” admits Zechder. Because behind each worker there was a household.

However, with out the assist of BMW, it would not have been doable to proceed working the workforce at this stage – particularly since there have been nearly no sponsors for the 2010 season. “It was only a regular automotive with out it [Werbe-]labels,” he remembers.

Although BMW has not returned to Formula 1 to today, the workforce survived. Initially as Sauber, from 2019 the racing workforce started as Alfa Romeo. Always Have: Hit the Zehnder.

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