F1 » 1 November 2009
Sauber still waiting - and clock is ticking
BMW Sauber boss Mario Theissen suggests that the clock is ticking ever louder on hopes of returning to the F1 grid in 2010.
BMW Sauber team boss Mario Theissen has admitted that the squad is still no nearer to knowing whether it will be on the grid under new ownership next season, as it waits for the green light to take up a potential 14th entry.
Speaking at the final grand prix of BMW's latest F1 adventure, Theissen - who has yet to confirm whether or not he will be remaining with the team under Qadbak ownership - admitted that work was continuing as usual at the Sauber base in Hinwil, even though there had been no word on whether it would be granted an entry, or be asked to fill in for one of the confirmed newcomers.
"There is a lot going on behind the scenes, [and] I think we are making progress, but the crucial issue still is the place on the grid," the German admitted, "That's all I can say, so there is no decision right now.
"We don't have a clear deadline, but it is clear that time is running and it gets more and more difficult for the team as, obviously, you can only sign drivers and sponsors when you have a place on the grid."
BMW could limp out of F1 in Abu Dhabi this weekend, depending on how the last of its engine allocation holds up under the strain of racing at the new Yas Marina circuit. Both Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica have been through the eight engines allowed this season, but Theissen revealed that, instead of attracting penalties for using a ninth, the team was attempting to see out the campaign by reusing units already close to their mileage limit.
"[Friday's] engine failure was related to our decision some events ago not to pick up a ninth engine for Robert," he confirmed, "What we are trying to do is cover the final four race events with one engine, so Robert's race engine for Sunday has had three races already. The consequence is that, especially on this final Friday, we had to use an engine with way in excess of 2000km, so we were aware of the risk. I just hoped it would blow up in the final lap of the session!"
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