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Thiessen explains BMW’s motivation 22 Jun 2005

(L to R): Peter Sauber (SUI) Sauber Team Owner talks with Dr Mario Theissen (GER) BMW Motorsport Technical Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd6, Monaco Grand Prix, First Qualifying Day, Monte Carlo, Monaco, 21 May 2005

At Wednesday's Sauber takeover announcement, BMW Motorsport Director, Dr Mario Thiessen, revealed what had persuaded him to recommend the deal to the German company's board:

“The realignment of our Formula One strategy is based on two insights. Firstly, the influence of the engine on the winning potential of the overall package has diminished; the car, tyres and drivers play a greater role than they used to. Secondly, from our point of view, an optimal overall package can only be achieved with a fully integrated team and coherent processes throughout.

“In restructuring we are taking account of these insights. At Sauber we have found a solid foundation for vehicle development and production, along with the requisite know-how and one of the most modern wind tunnels. The results achieved there so far are worthy of respect in the light of the team’s limited budget.

“BMW will not only maintain this foundation but build on it. That applies both to the facilities and to the staff. Additional workplaces will be created at the Sauber headquarters in Hinwil. The new team will be managed as a fully integrated project from two locations, as has long been standard practice at BMW for series production.

“We are aware that we face a learning curve, that although you can plan success you can’t buy it off the peg. After showing that BMW is capable of building the best Formula One engine, we are starting out as it were at apprenticeship level on the complex task of tackling the vehicle as a whole. That demands patience and stamina. We possess both, as well as a concrete work programme. The technical cooperation has already begun.”

Exactly what the Sauber takeover will mean for current BMW partners, Williams, remains to be seen. However, Thiessen made it clear that no firm decisions had been made and that the company would retain 100 percent focus on their 2005 campaign:

“In the partnership with WilliamsF1 we have celebrated successes together and taken the team forward. Both partners today are stronger than at the outset of our joint venture and are thus equipped for the future. What that future will look like will be decided over the next weeks. Irrespective of that decision, we are concentrating on the current season. We still have quite a few goals for this year and we will apply all our powers and professionalism to implement them together with WilliamsF1.”

The British team, whose partnership with BMW began in 2000, have yet to score a win this year and lie joint fourth with Toyota in the constructors' standings.