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

( – Beat Zehnder is a real Sauber veteran. The present sporting director of the Formula 1 racing staff from Hineville has been there since the first season in the first-class in 1993 and has gained a whole lot of expertise throughout his nearly 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 12 months later Robert Kubica received the solely victory in the historical past of the racing staff and fought for the world championship. for a very long time.

Zehnder informed the Beyond the Grid podcast that BMW would have received the world title – had the Munich staff not abruptly ended its dedication after the 2009 season. “I feel it was a transparent aim,” Zechder mentioned.

“Especially in 2008” issues had been “entering into the proper route”, he remembers, explaining that due to BMW’s “monetary funding” at the time, Sauber grew to become “one in every 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 feel we had been the solely staff with air cooling,” mentioned Zechder, who explains that the vitality 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 season that it would withdraw from Formula 1 at the finish of the 12 months.

Photo gallery: Sauber Motorsport historical past

According to Zehnder, there was no “warning” to the staff at 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 resolution.

From a purely sporting standpoint, Zechder nonetheless believes that leaving Formula 1 was the fallacious resolution. “If BMW had stayed on board, I’m positive we would have been world champions eventually,” he explains.

Savings after shopping for a Sauber

But in the years after 2009, as an alternative of preventing for the title of world champion, the complete staff nearly disappeared. “It was very tight,” Zehnder remembers. It was staff founder Peter Sauber who finally purchased the racing staff.

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

Pedro de la Rosa, Kamui Kobayashi

In the 2010 season, Sauber had nearly no sponsors



“It was one in every of the most 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 measurement 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 doable to proceed operating the staff at this stage – particularly since there have been nearly no sponsors for the 2010 season. “It was only a regular automobile with out it [Werbe-]labels,” he remembers.

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


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