A letter from Mario Theissen
Dear Motorsport Friends,
As the cars crossed the finish line at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix on Sunday evening, it not only marked the end of the 2009 Formula One season but also the end of an interesting and successful chapter of BMW's motorsport history. After ten years in motorsport's elite class, BMW bid farewell to Formula One.
The finale at the impressive Yas Marina Circuit saw us produce another strong race weekend. Nick performed very well to steadily work his way through the field from eighth on the grid to fifth place by the end of the race. Robert was struck by three pieces of misfortune during the race: he rejoined the race in slow traffic after every pit stop and then dropped back a place after the collision with Sebastien Buemi. However, his engine did manage the final four races of the season without any problems. It is important that today's good result allowed us to make up another place in the Constructor's Championship.
36 points puts us in sixth place in the Constructors' Championship. Whilst our goal two weeks ago in Brazil was to overtake Renault, we also achieved today's goal of moving ahead of Williams in Abu Dhabi. This brings a very difficult season to a pleasing end. Back in the summer we said that we wanted to turn things around - and we managed that. We ended the season with several good results. There was never a lack of motivation, and that paid off. I would like to extend my deepest thanks to the entire team for their efforts - the staff at the circuit and those in Hinwil and Munich.
Over the past few days I have often been asked to provide a summary. This has always been entirely positive: it was a fantastic time in Formula One - demanding and challenging, intensive and informative, exciting and always full of surprises. On the whole it has also been very successful. The whole team can be proud of what we achieved.
In our first three years with the BMW Sauber F1 Team we achieved, and even surpassed, all our internal goals. We made quick and consistent progress. With the exception of our fourth and final season I am more than happy with what we achieved in the 70 Grands Prix since 2006.
In our debut season we finished on the podium twice, and established ourselves as the third top team the following year. In 2008 we achieved our first fastest lap, the first pole position and, of course, that fantastic one-two in Canada. We were one of three teams fighting it out for the title until practically the last race of the season. In total we claimed eleven podium finishes in 2008. Our reliability was excellent.
Our inability to maintain the momentum and challenge for the title in 2009 was, of course, a disappointment for the entire team. However, the fact that we never gave up after the announcement of the withdrawal from Formula One shows the character of our team. I really hope that the succeeding team will continue down this successful road in Formula One.
The previous six years as an engine supplier were also successful. During our partnership with Williams we won ten races between 2000 and 2005. In 2003 we were battling for the World Championship title right to the very end. We will always remember all this.
It goes without saying that BMW remains very active in other motorsport series. We will announce shortly where we will be competing. However, our fans can look forward to another attractive motorsport package with BMW Power in 2010.