After months in limbo, the FIA has released a short statement to announce that it has approved the Sauber F1 team – formerly owned by BMW – to fill Toyota's vacant spot on the grid for next year's F1 championship.
The announcement puts an end to a long period of uncertainty for the Swiss team that started when BMW announced it would withdraw its support. A deal was then penned with a shady investment firm known as Qadbak. But after Qadbak emerged as little more than a shell company for a convicted fraudster, the team's founder and namesake Peter Sauber negotiated a deal to buy the team back from the departing Bavarian automaker.
BMW motorsport chief Mario Thiessen – who supervised the company's F1 participation from providing engines to Williams through its purchase of Sauber – has announced that he'll remain with BMW and not leave with Sauber, leaving old Peter in charge.
The newly independent team has reportedly negotiated a deal to run Ferrari engines next season, an arrangement that powered Sauber F1 cars for eight years, rebadged as Petronas under the sponsor's name. Reports also suggest that Giancarlo Fisichella – who raced for Sauber in 2004 alongside Felipe Massa – could drive for the team once again in parallel to his Ferrari test duties.
A revised entry list is expected within the next few days. Follow the jump for the FIA's official announcement.
[Source: FIA | Image: Andrew Yates/AFP/Getty Images]
FIA Formula One World Championship - BMW Sauber
The FIA has written to inform BMW Sauber AG that their application for an entry in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship has been successful. Subject to their signing the Concorde Agreement, BMW Sauber will be awarded the 13th entry in the Championship, taking the place of the departing Toyota team.
The FIA has worked closely with the Commercial Rights Holder and the teams involved over recent weeks and is grateful for their support in achieving the best outcome for the sport.
An updated Formula One entry list will be published in due course.