BMW agrees to sell F1 team to Sauber

Munich, Nov 27 (DPA) German carmaker BMW confirmed Friday that it has reached an agreement with Peter Sauber about the sale of the BMW-Sauber team which should ensure it can race in the 2010 Formula One season.

BMW refused to reveal what price had been agreed with Sauber but stated that the deal is subject to the condition the new Sauber team has a starting place on the grid next season.

The agreement means the planned sale to the Qadbak investor group is now off the table.

“I am convinced that the new team has a very good future in Formula One, whose current transformation with new framework conditions will benefit the private teams,” said Sauber in a joint statement.

“We are very happy with this solution,” BMW management board member Klaus Draeger said. “This fulfils the most important requirement for a successful future for the team.

“Our relationship with Peter Sauber has always been excellent and marked by absolute respect.”

Under the agreement, the Sauber factory in Switzerland’s Hinwil will continue in operation, securing around 250 of the 388 jobs there.

“It means we can keep the Hinwil location and the majority of workplaces,” said the 66-year-old Sauber, who ran Sauber as a private team from 1993 until 2005 and retained a 20 per-cent stake after the BMW takeover.

“Our staff here are highly competent and motivated, and I look forward to taking on this new challenge together with them,” he added.

Motorsport’s ruling body, the FIA, has so far failed to confirm Sauber as the 13th team entry for the 2010 season. But the team has strong chances of taking Toyota’s place following the Japanese carmaker’s recent withdrawal from the sport.

Sauber has yet to name his potential driver line-up for next season but Nick Heidfeld, who drove for BMW-Sauber for the previous four seasons, is thought to be among the candidates if he misses out on partnering Nico Rosberg at the new Mercedes team.