BMW has announced that it will leave Formula One (F1) at the end of the current season, the second leading car marker to withdraw from the sport in two years.
BMW said in a statement that F1 was no longer a sustainable or viable venture for BMW. “This was a difficult decision for us. But it’s a resolute step in view of our company’s strategic realignment,” Chairman of BMW’s Board Norbert Reithofer said. “Premium will increasingly be defined in terms of sustainability and environmental compatibility. This is an area in which we want to remain in the lead. In line with our strategy … we are continually reviewing all projects and initiatives to check them for future viability and sustainability. Our Formula One campaign is thus less a key promoter for us.”
BMW doesn’t have a long history in the sport, having only formally run its own team after acquiring the Sauber Formula One team prior to the 2006 season. BMW engines though have supplied other teams in the past, including the Brabham team in the 1980s and Williams from 2000 to 2005. The BMW Sauber team’s best year was in 2007, when it came 2nd in the manufacturers championship.
BMW follows in the footsteps of Honda last year, and leaves only four car manufacturers still competing: Ferrari, Mercedes Benz, Toyota and Renault.