Despite having seem both Sebastian Vettel and Timo Glock leave for pastures new in 2008, Dr Mario Theissen stresses that may not be the end of the duo's BMW careers in the top flight.
While the two young Germans – who acted as test and reserve drivers for the Munich-based squad in Formula 1 this year – have since taken up racing roles at Scuderia Toro Rosso and Toyota respectively, Theissen insisted the door would remain open to them should they wish one day to return.
“It's not disappointing to me,” the BMW Motorsport Director said of their departure, speaking to Crash.net Radio
during the 2007 Formula BMW World Final in Valencia at the weekend. “I would say it's rather natural. There are a lot of competitive drivers fighting for very few seats, and it is clear that a newcomer has to work up through the ranks.
“It is normal for me that they get a chance and take that chance elsewhere. That doesn't necessarily mean they will stay elsewhere, though, and I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get them back in our car again one day.”
Theissen continues to remain tight-lipped regarding the identities of who might take over testing duties at the team, with paddock whispers linking British F3 Champion Marko Asmer, F3 Euroseries ace Nico Hülkenberg, last year's Formula BMW ADAC Champion Christian Vietoris – who got behind the wheel of an F1 car for the first time during the 2007 Wold Final weekend – and GP2 race-winner Adam Carroll to a testing 'shoot-out' to decide the role. He did, however, concede a Formula BMW apprenticeship would do any potential candidate's chances no harm at all, adding despite both Glock and Vettel being German, nationality would not be a key factor in the selection process.
“We are certainly looking beyond Germany,” Theissen insisted. “We have always done that. The fact we had two German guys this year is not so much about their nationality, but more about their having been part of Formula BMW.
“It is quite easy for us to rate someone who we have worked with for one or two years in Formula BMW, so they have an advantage, but it's not down to nationality. We are looking worldwide, and certainly also to guys who have not been in Formula BMW before.
“I think Formula BMW has established itself very well on a worldwide basis as the
premium entry-level single-seater category for young drivers, not just in terms of racing but also in terms of the comprehensive educational programme they get. Like in previous years, I have seen a lot of promising drivers in Valencia; I think [Vietoris] too carries the potential to become a Formula 1 driver, but it will certainly take another two or three years to get there.
“It's important for me that they demonstrate what they have learnt in Formula BMW over one or two years in the upper formulae. It's always fun to see how the kids develop, and I certainly hope that again we will see a few of them knocking at the door to Formula 1 in a few years' time.”