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

( – Beat Zehnder is a real Sauber veteran. The present sporting director of the Formula 1 racing group from Hineville has been there since the first season in the firstclass in 1993 and has gained a number of expertise throughout his virtually 30 years in Formula 1.

Zehnder (proper) was overwhelmed 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 gained the solely victory in the historical past of the racing group 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 group not abruptly ended its dedication after the 2009 season. “I feel it was a transparent aim,” Zechder stated.

“Especially in 2008” issues have been “getting into the proper route”, he recollects, explaining that because of BMW’s “monetary funding” at the time, Sauber grew to become “one in all 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 have been the solely group with air cooling,” stated Zechder, who explains that the vitality restoration system “overheated” completely.

The end result: 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

Zehnder stated there was “no warning” to the group at 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 standpoint, Zechder nonetheless believes that leaving Formula 1 was the fallacious choice. “If BMW had stayed on board, I’m certain we would have been world champions ultimately,” he explains.

Savings after shopping for a Sauber

But in the years after 2009, as a substitute of combating for the title of world champion, the entire group virtually disappeared. “It was very tight,” Zehnder recollects. It was group founder Peter Sauber who finally purchased the racing group.

“It wasn’t low cost,” Zehnder recollects: “BMW spent some huge cash on services. During this time, we virtually doubled the variety of jobs.” As a end result, after the acquisition, Sauber first needed to lower prices.

Pedro de la Rosa, Kamui Kobayashi

In the 2010 season, Sauber had virtually no sponsors scaling

“It was one in all the most tough occasions for each Peter and me, as a result of we needed to lay off about 250 folks. We needed to scale back the measurement of the firm by virtually half. It was tough,” admits Zechder. Because behind each worker there was a household.

However, with out the assist of BMW, it would not have been potential to proceed operating the group at this stage – particularly since there have been virtually no sponsors for the 2010 season. “It was only a regular automobile with out it [Werbe-]labels,” he recollects.

Although BMW has not returned to Formula 1 to at the present time, the group survived. Initially as Sauber, from 2019 the racing group started as Alfa Romeo. Always Have: Hit the Zehnder.

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