Beat Zehnder is a real Sauber veteran. The present sporting director of the Formula 1 racing group from Hineville has been there for the reason that first season within the top notch in 1993 and has gained quite a lot of expertise throughout his virtually 30 years in Formula 1.
It skilled probably the most profitable interval in BMW years from 2006 to 2009. In 2007, BMW-Sauber was the vice-champion, and a yr later Robert Kubica gained the one victory within 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 purpose,” Zechder stated.
“Especially in 2008” issues had been “stepping into the correct path”, he recollects, explaining that due to 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 feel we had been the one group with air cooling,” stated Zechder, who explains that the power restoration system “overheated” completely.
The outcome: 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 might withdraw from Formula 1 on the finish of the yr.
According to Zehnder, there was no “warning” to the group 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 fallacious choice. “If BMW had stayed on board, I’m positive we might have been world champions eventually,” he explains.
Savings after shopping for a Sauber
But within the years after 2009, as an alternative 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 amenities. During this time, we virtually doubled the variety of jobs.” As a outcome, after the acquisition, Sauber first needed to lower prices.
“It was probably the most troublesome occasions for each Peter and me, as a result of we needed to lay off about 250 individuals. We needed to cut back the scale of the corporate virtually in half. It was troublesome,” admits Zehder. Because behind each worker there was a household.
However, with out the help of BMW, it might not have been attainable to proceed working the group at this degree – 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 this present day, the group survived. Originally as Sauber, from 2019 the racing group started as Alfa Romeo. Always Have: Hit the Zehnder.