BMW totally committed to Formula 1

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen insists there is no doubt about the German car maker's commitment to Formula 1 despite the ongoing economic downturn

BMW totally committed to Formula 1

Despite Honda having already pulled out of F1, and Toyota admitting quitting was a real possibility, Theissen says Formula 1 is a good investment for BMW, especially with the cost-cutting measures which have been introduced.

Theissen also admitted his team has reduced its running costs massively in the last four years.

"Today, BMW is spending 40 percent less on its involvement in Formula 1 than in 2005," he said.

"Back then we were an engine supplier, but now have our own team, of course. Significant savings have been achieved through increases in the mileage required of each engine.

"When BMW returned to Formula 1 in 2000, we were using one engine for free practice, replacing it for qualifying and then fitting another new one for the race. This outlay has since been gradually reigned in and today each driver has to make do with eight engines for the full duration of the season.

"The heavily reduced testing schedule has brought further substantial budget savings. Testing on race circuits is banned outside of race weekends until 31 December 2009. The only exception will be tests for junior drivers with no GP experience after the season has finished. So we have put together a whole package of measures to reduce costs."

The BMW boss said F1 remained the "core" of the German manufacturer's racing programme, and made it clear there are no plans to leave the sport.

"Most definitely," said Theissen when asked if F1 was justifiable in the current economic climate. "Alongside the savings I've already mentioned, which will be backed up by further economising in the future, we have started to enjoy success on the track.

"And so it's not only our marketing experts who are saying that Formula 1 is a valuable tool for BMW. F1 remains the core of our motor sport programme. Nowhere else will you find such charisma exuded on a global level on such a frequent basis.

"And nothing else offers a technical challenge so fruitful that it benefits the research activities of an entire company. From a cost-benefit point of view, Formula 1 is very positive for us."

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