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The Lesser Known… Mario Theissen 20 Aug 2007

Dr Mario Theissen (GER) BMW Sauber F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Race, Budapest, Hungary, Sunday, 5 August 2007 (L to R): Nick Heidfeld (GER) BMW Sauber F1 with Dr Mario Theissen (GER) BMW Sauber F1 Team Principal and Sebastian Vettel (GER) BMW Sauber.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 7, United States Grand Prix, Practice Day, Indianapolis, USA, Friday, 15 June 2007 Dr Mario Theissen (GER) BMW Sauber F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Preparations, Sepang, Malaysia, Thursday, 5 April 2007 Dr Mario Theissen (GER) BMW Sauber F1 Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 1, Australian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, Friday, 16 March 2007

When BMW decided to join the growing ranks of mainstream car makers contesting Formula One racing, Mario Theissen was hand-picked to lead the venture. Theissen had already proved his worth as the German company’s Motorsport Director and was the prime candidate to lead them into the most-challenging phase of their sporting career.

Two years on and he’s already achieved some serious results, but that doesn’t mean there’s not a lighter side to the BMW Sauber team principal…

Q: Best part of being a team principal?
Mario Theissen:
Being in the position to turn a vision into a reality, step by step.

Q: The most annoying?
MT:
If the vision takes you to the wrong end of the grid.

Q: Running a Formula One team is like…
MT:
…juggling two handfuls of balls, while standing with one foot on Bernie Ecclestone’s shoulder and the other one on Max Mosley’s, as the two of them are engaged in an emotional exchange of ideas.

Q: What would you be if you weren’t a team principal?
MT:
Managing family life at home. Sadly, my wife has never asked me to do so, nor did my kids.

Q: The first thing I do after a race is…
MT:
…enjoy my time with the media.

Q: Winning a race would mean…
MT:
…we have climbed the next step on the ladder.

Q: What is your favourite place to relax?
MT:
Staying home.

Q: Funniest thing you've read about yourself in the press?
MT:
I got the credit for stopping a fight between Nick Heidfeld and Sebastian Vettel at a Bahrain test earlier this year. According to the story, I stepped in after they had already knocked down Alain Prost, who had initially tried to calm down the situation. Unfortunately, I was not in Bahrain, Alain Prost wasn’t there, and the fight hadn’t happened.

Q: The most difficult decision you have had to make as a team principal?
MT:
Advise the BMW board to take a fresh approach to F1.

Q: Best time during a race weekend?
MT:
Seeing one or both of our drivers on the podium.

Q: Formula One racing and politics is like…
MT:
I’ve never heard of politics in F1!

Q: Your best moment as a team principal?
MT:
Montreal 2007 - Robert (Kubica) unhurt and Nick finishing in second was like a double victory!

Q: Something you always wanted to do but never had the time?
MT:
Travel the Norwegian coastline on a post boat.

Q: How was your first race as a team principal?
MT:
Disappointing - one engine failure, one finish outside the points and outperformed by our previous partner team - some people counted us out after only one race!

Q: Who would you like to be for one day? And why?
MT:
It’s a waste of time to think about something that won’t happen!

Q: Does money change everything?
MT:
Absolutely - some things for the better, some for the worse.