How BMW-Sauber blew its chance of title glory
Autosport Plus

How BMW-Sauber blew its chance of title glory

By:

Continuing Autosport's series celebrating 50 years of Sauber, we revisit the 2008 season in which it at last became a Formula 1 winner. But corporate demands from new owner BMW meant its best shot at the title was allowed to slip away

After 50 years in motorsport there are plenty of trophies in the display cabinets of Sauber's factory in Hinwil - but not one denoting the greatest prize of all, the Formula 1 world championship. It's a title the team permitted to slip through its corporate fingers over the course of a febrile few months in 2008. That was the view publically expressed by lead driver Robert Kubica at the time, and he's not altered that view over the following 12 years.

When BMW returned to F1 as an engine supplier in 2000 after 13 years in abeyance it did so with energy and purpose - and a plan, even if those goals had to be subtly revised over the course of the coming seasons. Led by ex-F1 driver Gerhard Berger and Dr Mario Theissen, an ambitious but engineering-led corporate climber who was passionate about motor racing, BMW knew exactly what it wanted out of F1: explicit technological links between everyday product and racing, to which end it was developing a V10 for its high-performance road cars.

shares
comments
Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place Plus

Why McLaren doesn’t doubt Ricciardo can escape his ‘dark’ place

Three points finishes from as many starts represents a decent opening innings on paper, but Daniel Ricciardo has endured a tough start to his McLaren career - only magnified his team-mate's excellent form. Yet both he and the team have good reason to expect a turnaround soon

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors Plus

What needs to “change” for Red Bull is ending Verstappen’s errors

OPINION: Going up against the dominant force of Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton was always going to demand the best from Red Bull and Max Verstappen. But after making a couple more errors during the Portuguese Grand Prix, the Dutch driver showed there's a small gap he still needs to close in the 2021 Formula 1 title fight

Formula 1
May 5, 2021
The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix Plus

The "subtle" Red Bull upgrades that kept it in the Portugal F1 mix

Red Bull's Portuguese Grand Prix fortunes were decidedly second best to Mercedes', but the result skews the potential that the team had at Portimao. With a new set of updates, the team looks good going forward into the rest of 2021's spicy F1 competition

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Portuguese Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Portuguese GP will for several drivers go down as a weekend of missed opportunities amid imperfect track conditions that caused struggles with tyre warmup. But the performances of a select few stood out from the crowd

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory Plus

How Hamilton took a “completely different journey” to Portugal victory

Just as he did in 2020, Lewis Hamilton had to come from behind to win the 2021 Portuguese Grand Prix. Only this time there were two rivals he had to pass, among the several challenges he had to overcome, on his way to securing a 97th grand prix victory

Formula 1
May 3, 2021
The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning Plus

The ‘big fish’ mentality that kept an Australian legend winning

Frank Gardner was the veteran of just eight grand prix starts. It could have been more, but why waste his talent if the cars weren't up to it? NIGEL ROEBUCK recalls the life of one of racing's great characters

Formula 1
May 2, 2021
Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth Plus

Why Todt’s FIA successor could be cut from the same cloth

Jean Todt has signalled that he will not stand for re-election as FIA president. MARK GALLAGHER analyses the strong credentials of one potential successor…

Formula 1
May 1, 2021
The data that leaves both Red Bull and Mercedes uncertain of supremacy at Portimao Plus

The data that leaves both Red Bull and Mercedes uncertain of supremacy at Portimao

Lewis Hamilton topped the crucial FP2 session on Friday as F1 returned to Portugal, but his Mercedes team cannot be sure it has the edge on its Red Bull rivals. As cool temperatures and wind combine with the still-slippery surface to present drivers with quandaries over set-up and tyre warmup, there's still everything to play for come qualifying

Formula 1
Apr 30, 2021
Retrospective: How Bruce McLaren created a legendary F1 team

Previous article

Retrospective: How Bruce McLaren created a legendary F1 team

Next article

Autosport Podcast: Sauber's greatest ever racing cars

Autosport Podcast: Sauber's greatest ever racing cars
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Teams Sauber
Author Stuart Codling