BMW to quit F1

UPDATE #4 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. See Hot News page for full story.

07/29/09 (GMM) BMW looks set to rock the formula one world on Wednesday morning by announcing it will withdraw from the sport at the end of 2009.

International media have been summoned to a press conference at the German marque's Munich headquarters at 10am – less than three hours' time – to discuss "current developments in motor sport".

Amid a disappointing season and a lack of progress in overcoming the difficulties, the BMW board is believed to have called time on the Swiss based BMW-Sauber project.

Present at the emergency press conference will be team boss Mario Theissen as well as BMW board chairman Norbert Reithofer and director for development Klaus Draeger.

A source said the news to be revealed on Wednesday is "important" but would not elaborate. It is speculated BMW, having bought the independent Sauber team at the end of 2005, may announce it will instead turn its attention to other forms of motor sport, including perhaps a return to Le Mans.

The timing of the announcement is almost certainly because BMW has not signed the new Concorde Agreement, which is set to be announced imminently and would have bound the manufacturer to F1 until the end of 2012.

It is feared that Toyota and Renault may now follow suit. Honda withdrew at the end of the 2008 season.

With Ferrari's Felipe Massa in hospital and expected to be out of action for the rest of the season, the BMW news has sparked rumors that Robert Kubica could be drafted in to replace the injured Brazilian.

07/28/09 This rumor is upgraded to 'strong.' Formula One will Wednesday be rocked by BMW’s decision to leave the sport at the end of the season. The German manufacturers will follow Honda out of motor racing’s premier competition to concentrate on other series. Toyota are also believed to be considering whether to follow suit.

BMW, who are suffering a massive downturn in road car sales as the world economic crisis bites, have endured a fruitless season after finishing third in last year’s championship. MailOnline

07/28/09 BMW's future in Formula 1 under a cloud of doubt as speculation mounts that they are about to announce their imminent withdrawal from F1 at the end of this season. The team have called an emergency press conference at their headquarters in Munich.

The basis of the press conference is under the title of 'current developments in motor sport.'

BMW officials would not comment about what the press conference was about, but they did confirm that it was significant and important news.

If BMW have decided to withdraw from F1, it will be more a surprise because they were one of the many teams on the verge of completing the signing of the Concorde Agreement that would have ensured the team had stay in to F1 until the end of 2012.

07/28/09 Tired of pouring a lot of money down the F1 rat hole with not much to show for it, the BMW Sauber team be out of Formula One as early as next year it has been revealed. The German manufacturer is believed to be engaging in emergency talks at the manufacturer's Munich base on Wednesday with regards to the marque leaving F1 due to financial reasons.

Having bought out Peter Sauber's independent team ahead of its first full season in 2006, BMW's constant run of general improvements – which includes top three end-of-year results in the past two seasons – has come to an abrupt halt this year and the outfit currently lies eighth in the Constructors' championship.

Tuesday night rumors in German indicate that the name may be out of the sport completely in 2010, however, with key company figures plus F1 team principal Dr Mario Theissen due at Wednesday's meeting.

With Japanese giant Honda having pulled the plug on its Formula One program at the back end of last year, the potentially imminent F1 exit from BMW would be the sport's second loss of a manufacturer within eight months. The BMW cars of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica have scored a total of just eight points after ten races, which compares with leader Brawn GP's sum of 114 on a budget a fraction of the size of BMW's.

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