Beat Zehnder is a real Sauber veteran. The present sporting director of the Formula 1 racing workforce from Hineville has been there because the first season within the top notch in 1993 and has gained a variety of expertise throughout his nearly 30 years in Formula 1.
It skilled probably the most profitable interval in BMW years from 2006 to 2009. In 2007, BMW-Sauber was the vice-champion, and a 12 months later Robert Kubica gained the one victory within the historical past of the racing workforce 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 workforce not abruptly ended its dedication after the 2009 season. “I feel it was a transparent aim,” Zechder stated.
“Especially in 2008” issues have been “stepping into the proper course”, he remembers, explaining that due to BMW’s “monetary funding” on the time, Sauber grew to become “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 feel we have been the one workforce with air cooling,” stated Zechder, who explains that the power restoration system “overheated” completely.
The end result: 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 12 months.
According to Zehnder, there was no “warning” to the workforce on 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 choice.
From a purely sporting perspective, Zechder nonetheless believes that leaving Formula 1 was the flawed determination. “If BMW had stayed on board, I’m positive we might have been world champions eventually,” he explains.
Savings after shopping for a Sauber
But within 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 finally 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 reduce prices.
“It was one of the crucial troublesome 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 nearly in half. It was troublesome,” admits Zehder. Because behind each worker there was a household.
However, with out the help of BMW, it will not have been potential to proceed working the workforce at this degree – 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. Originally as Sauber, from 2019 the racing workforce started as Alfa Romeo. Always Have: Hit the Zehnder.