BMW Motorsport director Mario Theissen insists that the BMW Sauber team will 'show its fighting spirit' through the remainder of the 2009 F1 season following the announcement that the German manufacturer will quit the sport at the end of the year.

Following a meeting of the board yesterday [Tuesday], BMW called an emergency press conference at its Munich headquarters at which it confirmed the decision had been taken as part of a 'strategic realignment', with resources previously put into the F1 programme being freed up for use elsewhere.

The decision comes after a hugely disappointing season for the Himwil-based team, which has seen Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica manage just three points scoring finishes between them.

Kubica in particular has struggled and has failed to make it past the first stage of qualifying on four occasions this year.

Indeed the Pole, who finished fourth in the standings last season and took his maiden F1 win in Canada, has failed to finish in the top ten in any race aside from Turkey - where he finished seventh for his only points of the year.

Speaking following the announcement, team boss Theissen said there was disappointment that the programme was to come to an end but said he fully understood why the decision had been taken.

"Of course, we, the employees in Hinwil and Munich, would all have liked to continue this ambitious campaign and show that this season was just a hiccup following three successful years," he said. "But I can understand why this decision was made from a corporate perspective.

"We will now focus sharply on the remaining races and demonstrate our fighting spirit and put in a good result as we bid farewell to Formula One racing."


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