BMW to quit Formula One by the end of 2009

BMW Formula One

BMW surprised the Formula One world today by announcing their exit as a team and engine supplier at the end of 2009.

“Resources freed up as a result are to be dedicated to the development of new drive technologies and projects in the field of sustainability,” BMW said in a statement. “BMW will continue to be actively involved in other motor sports series.”

“Of course, this was a difficult decision for us. But it’s a resolute step in view of our company’s strategic realignment,” explained Dr. Norbert Reithofer, Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “Premium will increasingly be defined in terms of sustainability and environmental compatibility. This is an area in which we want to remain in the lead.”

Reithofer said that BMW will remain active in the field of motor sports, focusing on close-to-production motor sports and promoting young drivers.

Follow the jump for the press release.

Press Release:

BMW looks back on a long track record of success in the field of motor sports:

BMW achieved eight Formula One victories from 1982 to 1985 with Brabham. In 1983, BMW won the driver’s championship with Nelson Piquet (Brabham BMW). The last win with the legendary turbo engine followed with Benetton in 1986. Ten victories were scored during the partnership with Williams (2000-2005). BMW had a total of 19 grand prix wins and 33 pole positions before the BMW Sauber F1 Team era.

In its debut season in 2006, the newly established BMW Sauber F1 Team wound up fifth in the constructor’s championship. In 2007, the German-Swiss team came in second after McLaren-Mercedes’ exclusion from the points standings. The 2008 season saw the team in the hunt for the world championship until the end of the season, winding up third. Polish-born Robert Kubica achieved the first and hitherto only GP victory in Canada on June 8, 2008. So far, the BMW Sauber F1 Team has taken one pole position (Kubica in Bahrain in 2008) and 16 podium finishes. The BMW Sauber F1 Team occupies the eighth spot in the manufacturer’s standings in the season presently underway.

– By: Omar Rana