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

( – Beat Zehnder is a real Sauber veteran. The present sporting director of the Formula 1 racing crew from Hineville has been there since the first season in the firstclass in 1993 and has gained quite a lot of expertise throughout his virtually 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 gained the solely victory in 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 gained the world title – had the Munich crew not abruptly ended its dedication after the 2009 season. “I believe it was a transparent objective,” Zechder mentioned.

“Especially in 2008” issues had been “getting in the proper route”, he recollects, explaining that because of BMW’s “monetary funding” at the time, Sauber turned “certainly one of the 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 solely crew with air cooling,” mentioned Zechder, who explains that the vitality restoration system “overheated” completely.

The consequence: 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

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

From a purely sporting perspective, Zechder nonetheless believes that leaving Formula 1 was the unsuitable choice. “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 a substitute of preventing 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.

Pedro de la Rosa, Kamui Kobayashi

In the 2010 season, Sauber had virtually no sponsors



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

However, with out the assist of BMW, it would not have been attainable to proceed operating the crew at this stage – 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. First as Sauber, from 2019 the racing crew began as Alfa Romeo. Always Have: Hit the Zehnder.


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