Beat Zehnder is a real Sauber veteran. The present sporting director of the Formula 1 racing staff from Hineville has been there because the first season within the top notch in 1993 and has gained lots of expertise throughout his nearly 30 years in Formula 1.
It skilled essentially 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 staff and fought for the world championship. for a very long time.
Zehnder advised the Beyond the Grid podcast that BMW would have gained the world title – had the Munich staff not abruptly ended its dedication after the 2009 season. “I believe it was a transparent objective,” Zechder stated.
“Especially in 2008” issues have been “entering into the proper path”, he recollects, explaining that because of BMW’s “monetary funding” on the time, Sauber turned “one of many 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 one staff with air cooling,” stated Zechder, who explains that the vitality restoration system “overheated” completely.
The consequence: 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 could withdraw from Formula 1 on the finish of the 12 months.
According to Zehnder, there was no “warning” to the staff on the time. “Not as soon as [BMW-Motorsportdirektor] Mario Theissen was knowledgeable,” he recollects, including that BMW solely knowledgeable Theissen “a 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 certain we might have been world champions in the end,” he explains.
Savings after shopping for a Sauber
But within the years after 2009, as a substitute of combating for the title of world champion, the entire staff nearly disappeared. “It was very tight,” Zehnder recollects. It was staff founder Peter Sauber who ultimately purchased the racing staff.
“It wasn’t low cost,” Zehnder recollects: “BMW spent some huge cash on amenities. During this time, we nearly doubled the variety of jobs.” As a consequence, after the acquisition, Sauber first needed to lower prices.
“It was one of the crucial 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 dimensions of the corporate nearly in half. It was tough,” admits Zehder. Because behind each worker there was a household.
However, with out the help of BMW, it could not have been attainable to proceed operating the staff 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 recollects.
Although BMW has not returned to Formula 1 to today, the staff survived. Originally as Sauber, from 2019 the racing staff started as Alfa Romeo. Always Have: Hit the Zehnder.