The future of Sauber F1 looks a little more secure. After BMW's announcement earlier this year that it would withdraw from its involvement in Formula one at the end of the 2009, the automaker has reached a deal to sell the team back to eponymous founder Peter Sauber.
The new deal comes just days after it became clear that the previously unknown Qadbak investment company that had a deal to buy the team may have in fact been nothing more than a scam. According to previous reports, Qadbak apparently just wanted to collect Sauber's share of the F1 commercial money.
Peter Sauber has apparently raised the financing to buy back the team he sold to BMW in 2005 although the announcement does not disclose the purchase price. The team is being restructured in accordance with new F1 rules designed to bring down costs, and the staff at team headquarters will be cut from the current 388 to 250, with the first batch of layoff notices landing in inboxes today.
BMW AG reaches agreement with Peter Sauber regarding sale of the BMW Sauber F1 Team
* Press Release
Munich/Hinwil. Yesterday (Thursday), BMW AG reached an agreement with Peter Sauber regarding the sale of the BMW Sauber F1 Team. The contract is subject to the condition that the team has a starting place for the 2010 Formula 1 season.
Dr Klaus Draeger, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG with responsibility for Development, stated this morning: "We are very happy with this solution. 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. We would like to express our thanks to Peter Sauber and the whole team for the excellent cooperation during the recent four years."
Peter Sauber added: ""I am very relieved that we have found this solution. It means we can keep the Hinwil location and the majority of workplaces. 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. Our staff here are highly competent and motivated, and I look forward to taking on this new challenge together with them. I would like to thank BMW for four shared years that have in the main been very successful."
This means that the sale to Qadbak Investment Ltd. that was initially planned will not be completed.
A further agreement with Peter Sauber proposes personnel cuts from the current level of 388 to around 250 employees. The restructuring of the team and compliance with future framework conditions have made this essential. Notices of redundancy have therefore been issued today. BMW AG regrets the need for these personnel cutbacks and will support the restructuring. At this moment in time, due to the aforementioned restructuring of the team, it is not possible to exclude the possibility of further redundancies in the near future.