Peter Sauber, who recently bought back his old team from BMW, has been granted the final entry for the 2010 Formula One season. The news ends months of speculation after BMW decided to withdraw earlier in the year. A deal with Qadbak fell through and the future of the team appeared to be in jeopardy. However, having regained control of the team, Peter Sauber has been granted Toyota’s vacated position.
Peter Sauber started his Formula One team back in the early-mid ’90s (having progressed from sports cars) and enjoyed moderate success, although the squad failed to win any races. In 2005 after the souring of the relationship between engine supplier BMW and customer team Williams, the German marque purchased Sauber and ran the team to greater success.
Unfortunately, with disappointing results in 2009 and a worsening economy, BMW decided to pull the plug in late-July, vowing to continue until the end of 2009 before closing the factory doors. Not wanting to see his old team disappear, Peter Sauber started talks with the German car manufacturer but apparently they were asking for too much money. An alliance with Qadbak fell through and it looked as though the efforts of Sauber and Theissen would be constrained to the history books.
However, Sauber managed to re-purchase his team and set about pushing for entry for next season. All Sauber has to do is sign the new Concorde Agreement and we should see the team, likely with Cosworth engines, racing in 2010.
The FIA has written to inform BMW Sauber AG that their application for an entry in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship has been successful. Subject to their signing the Concorde Agreement, BMW Sauber will be awarded the 13th entry in the Championship, taking the place of the departing Toyota team.
The FIA has worked closely with the Commercial Rights Holder and the teams involved over recent weeks and is grateful for their support in achieving the best outcome for the sport. FIA Press Release.
Elsewhere in 2010 Entry News, Renault met today in Paris to discuss their future involvement in Formula One. The French team has, for the past few years, been a little vague about their ongoing participation in the sport, but they have always signed on the line and turned up at the first race of the year.
2009 though has not been a great year for the team. It was a season when they performed at their worse in recent memory and of course, suffered from the saga and subsequent fallout that surrounded the 2008 Singapore Grand Prix. Having lost the team principal and technical head due to their roles in the incident, and also seeing their primary sponsor depart a few months earlier than planned and having lost their key driver, one cannot blame Renault for thinking about quitting.
It has been rumoured that Dave Richards – the man that simply won’t go away – could be in talks with the Enstone-based squad about the possibility of taking over the team. Richards has long been wanting to compete in Formula One, and was granted entry for the 2008 grid, only to then back out because of the issue with customer chassis. He then pushed earlier this year for an entry on the 2010 grid but was beaten by three other hopefuls.
Richards, who once ran the BAR team (who went on to become Honda, then Brawn, now Mercedes, definitely no longer Tyrrell) and also the Benetton team for a short while, has big plans for Formula One, and his Prodrive factory has been in planning for a while – Richards wants to move his factory to a new complex that will be purposely-built. And the company does have a lot of motor sport credentials, having ran the Subaru World Rally Team and entered various sports car races with Aston Martin, the car company being owned by Prodrive and its investors.
We cannot comment on the Renault situation, but it is well known that our intention is to get back into F1. We proved our credentials earlier this year when we had a strong business case for an entry, but having had an engine deal with Mercedes-Benz in place we were not willing to sacrifice our competitiveness. Dave Richards.
Renault are once again expected to hold a meeting next week, and perhaps after then we may know some more on the situation.
And finally, Toyota have handed their 2010 entry back to the FIA, pretty much stating they have no intention on selling it on to any other hopeful. It had been hoped that the team could be saved after they surprisingly quit the sport just after the season closed in November, as this would avoid having to pay any settlements to Bernie Ecclestone due to the breach of contract. However, according to Autosport, an unamed source has said the following:
We have returned our entry to the FIA and have no intention or wish to influence or interfere in the allocation process. That is a matter for the Federation. We are discussing a settlement with Bernie on the basis of goodwill and what is acceptable to all parties.
Interestingly, Toyota have been trying to sell on their 2010 car, the design having been started earlier in the year. The 2009 TF109 was an okay car – when it worked it did well, when it didn’t, well, it didn’t go at all – but having a base for a design is surely much better than starting from a blank piece of paper. Apparently, Toyota haven’t received much interest though, and only Stefan GP have considered an offer. Unfortunately for Stefan GP (and Toyota), they aren’t on the 2010 entry list. Not at the moment, anyway.
Toyota are also pushing for Kamui Kobayashi to be a part of any deal that sees their designs and equipment sold to another party. Kamui drove well when he substituted Timo Glock in the final races of the season, and although a bit lairy at times, the young Japanese driver did impress. Martin Brundle was even heard saying on BBC commentary, “That man has surely just secured himself a drive with Toyota for next year.” It was only a couple of days later that the withdrawal was announced.
Whether Toyota manage to rent or sell their assets on, the team itself, it would appear, will not be sold as a whole and therefore, BMW have been granted their entry slot for next year. And thus, today’s circle is complete.
Photo © BMW AG.