As ever Formula One is playing with the hearts and minds of its competitors. Last Friday BMW agreed to sell the remnants of its team back to former owner Peter Sauber. An interesting Q&A piece with the 66-year-old entrepreneur discussing the deal can be read on the Formula1.com website.
In that article Sauber mentions development of their car for 2010 season is well under way. This is largely thanks to Ferrari who will be supplying engines to the reformed team. That’s the good news.
The not so good news comes from the FIA—overnight the FIA released it’s 2010 entry list. There are only 12 teams on that list and Sauber is not one of them.
A major condition of BMW’s sale is that the deal can only be finalised if a new Sauber team is granted a starting place on the 2010 grid. A sticking point in this outcome is the fact that 13 teams had already signed a Concorde Agreement with the FIA for the 2010 season. Of course, neither Sauber or BMW are one of those signatories. However, Toyota is. Given they have since withdrawn from the sport one would assume that Sauber could fill the void, so to speak.
Indeed, this possibility is spoken of with confidence by Peter Sauber in his interview mentioned above. Sauber explained, “The FIA had already promised us the 14th slot on the grid. Under that circumstance it would have been our obligation to persuade the one team [Williams] that had voted against us to accept our entry.”
More news on this story as it comes to hand. BMW’s press release on the sale back to Sauber can be read below.
BMW AG reaches agreement with Peter Sauber regarding sale of the BMW Sauber F1 Team
27.11.2009 – Munich/Hinwil. Yesterday (Thursday), BMW AG reached an agreement with Peter Sauber regarding the sale of the BMW Sauber F1 Team. The contract is subject to the condition that the team has a starting place for the 2010 Formula 1 season.
Dr Klaus Draeger, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG with responsibility for Development, stated this morning: “We are very happy with this solution. This fulfils the most important requirement for a successful future for the team. Our relationship with Peter Sauber has always been excellent and marked by absolute respect. We would like to express our thanks to Peter Sauber and the whole team for the excellent cooperation during the recent four years.”
Peter Sauber added: “”I am very relieved that we have found this solution. It means we can keep the Hinwil location and the majority of workplaces. I am convinced that the new team has a very good future in Formula One, whose current transformation with new framework conditions will benefit the private teams. Our staff here are highly competent and motivated, and I look forward to taking on this new challenge together with them. I would like to thank BMW for four shared years that have in the main been very successful.”
This means that the sale to Qadbak Investment Ltd. that was initially planned will not be completed.
A further agreement with Peter Sauber proposes personnel cuts from the current level of 388 to around 250 employees. The restructuring of the team and compliance with future framework conditions have made this essential. Notices of redundancy have therefore been issued today. BMW AG regrets the need for these personnel cutbacks and will support the restructuring. At this moment in time, due to the aforementioned restructuring of the team, it is not possible to exclude the possibility of further redundancies in the near future.