Sauber eyes BMW deal

Sauber could land a customer supply of BMW engines, ending a deal with current supplier Ferrari that dates back to 1997, according to Autosport magazine. New team Red Bull Racing is also pursuing a deal with the Munich-based company.

Sauber eyes BMW deal

The German manufacturer, which currently has a sole supplier deal with the Williams team, may be applying pressure to perform on their long-term partner for the forthcoming season. A BMW spokesman acknowledged the possibility: "I can confirm that we have had an approach from Sauber - and indeed from Red Bull.

"There have been talks, and there will be more talks. We have not yet made a decision as to whether or not we will supply customer engines."

Asked about the deal, which could reduce Ferrari's political influence within the sport, Peter Sauber confirmed the possibility: "I will begin to evaluate all potential options, which naturally include Ferrari, at the beginning of next season. It goes without saying that I have informed Jean Todt accordingly."

Any eventuating deal would have a ripple effect across Formula 1. With Ferrari currently alone in committing to a deal with Bernie Ecclestone beyond 2007, any move by Sauber could segregate the Italian team even further from their competitors. Equally, if Sauber ends up joining an alternative GPWC championship they would probably need a supplier from within those ranks.

The GPWC manufacturers are also rumoured to have offered affordable engine deals to the independent teams as an incentive to join them, which would obviously appeal to the Swiss team.

Any movement in engine supply would also affect Red Bull Racing and the new Midland Jordan combination, both of whom are looking for new engine suppliers next year, and are understood to have approached Ferrari about a deal for 2006.

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