BMW, Sauber, FOTA, and the future

Today’s news that BMW intend to quit F1 at the end of the 2009 was  quickly followed by a FOTA announcement expressing the organisation’s support for the racing team. This is good news for F1 fans.  The Honda model seen in the 2008-2009 off-season has worked fairly well for the team now known as Brawn. In that case Honda’s withdrawal ultimately resulted in continued operation of the team under new ownership, with residual financial assistance provided by the departing manufacturer. Arguably (ok no argument!) the team emerged stronger and more agile as a result.

The BMW withdrawal decision clearly has more to do with corporate politics than cost. With today’s announcement the ‘F1 hawks’ within the company’s leadership got what they wanted, in that BMW is being seen to pull out of the sport. In the world of multinational business where perception matters far more than reality, the actual cost savings or penalties involved in executing the decision will have less of an impact than the decision itself.

So I think we can expect the levels of residual support provided to the successor team to be fairly generous as far as the Hinwill based staff is concerned. Who knows what will happen next. One thing’s for sure. It won’t be dull.

I think the silly season just got a bit sillier…

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