Mario Theissen has revealed that BMW-Sauber is pressing on with the design and development of its 2010 car, despite the Bavarian marque having announced late last month that it is to withdraw from the top flight at the end of the present campaign.
BMW dropped the bombshell during the midst of what has been by some margin its least convincing season to-date since officially joining the grid as a manufacturer in its own right when it purchased the former Sauber outfit in late 2005. The points tally over the following four years has read 36, 101, 135 and, currently, just eight.
The team's abject form in 2009 has been attributed to the lack of performance of the unloved and recalcitrant F1.09, but far from downing tools and whimpering towards the end of the season, Theissen has underlined that the Munich and Hinwil-based concern's 700-strong workforce is continuing full-steam ahead.
“We have brought an upgrade package here to Valencia,” explained the German. “[There are] two major issues – one is aero, including a new diffuser, and the other one is a lightweight chassis. It didn't look bad [on Friday]. The drivers especially think it is a significant step forward. I hope we can turn that into results on Saturday and Sunday.
“Regarding the future, obviously we are looking for investors to take over and continue with the team, and as long as we are doing so, we will continue with next year's car, the F1.10, so the development programme is ongoing as planned.
“It is clear that BMW does not want to be involved any further. Apart from that any solution is possible. What happened was a decision by the BMW board three weeks ago to pull out of F1 at the end of this season. Unfortunately, it happened during the factory shut-down, so we were able to discuss with our people, with the team, only this week.
“We are working on a solution for the team. The top priority is to find an investor to step in and take over the team and continue. As a consequence of this, the team has applied for an entry for next year, in time, last Monday. Now we are working and trying to come to a solution. We don't know what we can pull off for next year.”
Confirming that the engine-side of BMW's operation will close down altogether – with rumours prior to the announcement having suggested that the car maker was looking at supplying customer powerplants to other teams alongside the in-house effort next year – Theissen added, finally, that media speculation linking three-time F1 World Champion Nelson Piquet to a buy-out was just that...idle speculation.