BMW is gearing up for its first in-house Formula One attack following its purchase of the Sauber team.
The deal comes in the wake of a disappointing string of results with Williams, although it still has a contract to supply the Grove squad with engines until 2009. BMW has slated ’06 as a transitional year while it builds on existing Sauber personnel and facilities and has targeted ’08 for a world title challenge. Peter Sauber said his reasons for selling up are age-related (he’s 62), although he retains a 20 per cent stake.
Sauber and BMW last linked up in sportscars: Nelson Piquet and Hans Stuck won the Nürburgring 1000Km in 1981 aboard a Sauber-BMW M1. Sauber also ran 320i saloons in Group 5 in the late1970s.