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

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

Zehnder (proper) was overwhelmed 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 group 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 group not abruptly ended its dedication after the 2009 season. “I believe it was a transparent objective,” Zechder stated.

“Especially in 2008” issues have been “moving into the proper course”, he recollects, explaining that because of BMW’s “monetary funding” at the time, Sauber grew to become “certainly one 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 believe we have been the solely group with air cooling,” stated Zechder, who explains that the power restoration system “overheated” completely.

The outcome: 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 stated there was “no warning” to the group 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 viewpoint, Zechder nonetheless believes that leaving Formula 1 was the incorrect choice. “If BMW had stayed on board, I’m positive we would have been world champions in the end,” 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 group nearly disappeared. “It was very tight,” Zehnder recollects. It was group founder Peter Sauber who ultimately purchased the racing group.

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

Pedro de la Rosa, Kamui Kobayashi

In the 2010 season, Sauber had nearly no sponsors



“It was certainly one of the most tough instances for each Peter and me, as a result of we needed to lay off about 250 individuals. We needed to scale back the dimension of the firm nearly 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 potential to proceed operating the group at this degree – particularly since there have been nearly no sponsors for the 2010 season. “It was only a regular automobile with out it [Werbe-]labels,” he recollects.

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


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