Formula 1 – Beat Zehnder: BMW-Sauber “would definitely be world champion”

Beat Zehnder is a real Sauber veteran. The present sporting director of the Formula 1 racing crew from Hineville has been there because the first season within the top notch in 1993 and has gained quite a lot of expertise throughout his virtually 30 years in Formula 1.

It skilled essentially 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 one victory within the historical past of the racing crew and fought for the world championship. for a very long time.

Zehnder instructed the Beyond the Grid podcast that BMW would have received the world title – had the Munich crew not abruptly ended its dedication after the 2009 season. “I believe it was a transparent objective,” Zechder stated.

“Especially in 2008” issues had been “stepping into the proper path”, he recollects, explaining that because of BMW’s “monetary funding” on the time, Sauber turned “one of many prime groups” in Formula 1.


The BMW pulled out with out warning

“Unfortunately, we made a conceptual mistake with KERS in 2009. I believe we had been the one crew with air cooling,” stated Zechder, who explains that the power restoration system “overheated” completely.

The consequence: They fell to sixth place within the world championship and the financial disaster on the time, mixed with poor outcomes, ensured that BMW pulled the plug and introduced in the summertime that it will withdraw from Formula 1 on the finish of the yr.

According to Zehnder, there was no “warning” to the crew on the time. “Not as soon as [BMW-Motorsportdirektor] Mario Theissen was knowledgeable,” he recollects, including that BMW solely knowledgeable Theissen “a day earlier than” of the choice.

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

Savings after shopping for a Sauber

But within the years after 2009, as an alternative of combating for the title of world champion, the entire crew virtually disappeared. “It was very tight,” Zehnder recollects. It was crew founder Peter Sauber who finally purchased the racing crew.

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

“It was one of the vital tough occasions for each Peter and me, as a result of we needed to lay off about 250 individuals. We needed to cut back the scale of the corporate virtually in half. It was tough,” admits Zehder. Because behind each worker there was a household.

However, with out the help of BMW, it will not have been attainable to proceed operating the crew at this degree – particularly since there have been virtually no sponsors for the 2010 season. “It was only a regular automotive with out it [Werbe-]labels,” he recollects.

Although BMW has not returned to Formula 1 to this present day, the crew survived. Originally as Sauber, from 2019 the racing crew started as Alfa Romeo. Always Have: Hit the Zehnder.

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