No news on whether team will be sold; Toyota denies it will be next
29 July 2009

BMW has confirmed it will quit Formula One at the end of the 2009 season.

Dr. Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the BMW board, said that the decision was made after a refining of the company's future strategy.

Alan Henry blog - BMW's gone, who's next?

BMW F1 picture gallery

"Of course, this was a difficult decision for us. But it's a resolute step in view of our company's strategic realignment," he said.

"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. In line with our Strategy Number ONE, we are continually reviewing all projects and initiatives to check them for future viability and sustainability. Our Formula One campaign is thus less a key promoter for us.

"Mario Theissen has been in charge of our motor sports program since 1999. We have scored a large number of successes in this period, including some in Formula One racing. I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Mario Theissen and his team for this."

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen, who spearheaded the company's efforts as an engine supplier with Williams and then later with BMW Sauber, said he understood the reasons behind the withdrawal.

"Of course, we, the employees in Hinwil and Munich, would all have liked to continue this ambitious campaign and show that this season was just a hiccup following three successful years," he said. "But I can understand why this decision was made from a corporate perspective. We will now focus sharply on the remaining races and demonstrate our fighting spirit and put in a good result as we bid farewell to Formula One racing."

Dr. Klaus Draeger, member of the board who is responsible for development, said this season's poor results had played a part in the move to quit F1.

"It only took us three years to establish ourselves as a top team," he said. "Unfortunately, we were unable to meet expectations in the current season.

"Nevertheless, our ten years of Formula One experience have had a major impact on our development engineers. We have racing to thank for numerous technological innovations as well as the competitive spirit that drives us to develop mass-produced cars."

Draeger added that BMW had made no decisions about what would happen to the team.

"Since we only made this decision yesterday, we cannot provide any more precise information," he said. "We will develop and assess various scenarios and do our best to find a solution for the employees in Hinwil and the staff members involved in the Formula One project in Munich. We are aware of the responsibility we shoulder and will inform the staff as soon as we can make a clear statement."

Meanwhile, Toyota moved to quell speculation that it would withdraw from the sport too.

"Through cost reduction we will continue our Formula One activities," a spokesman told "Our situation remains unchanged."

Twitter - follow all the latest BMW reviews, news and video

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?
  • Range Rover p400e
    First Drive
    20 March 2018
    The original luxury SUV is now available as a plug-in hybrid, promising lower emissions and the capacity for silent electric motoring
  • BMW i3s
    Car review
    20 March 2018
    Revised hatchback sets out its range-extended electric stall in a new, sportier tune