BMW has reinforced its commitment to Formula 1 despite feeling the dramatic effects of the global economic crisis in recent weeks, one that has already claimed a victim in the shape of rivals Honda.

Despite being one of the world's more successful car companies, BMW hasn't been immune from the global downturn, their role as a 'premium' manufacturer causing their sales to suffer as buyers seek to downsize.

Nonetheless, BMW has joined Toyota in reaffirming their place on the F1 grid in 2009, with sales and marketing executive Ian Robertson telling German magazine Auto Motor und Sport that it still offers them value for money in terms of exposure in burgeoning markets such as China, Malaysia and Bahrain.

Indeed, having established themselves as a contender for race wins in Formula 1 this season, BMW have joined Mercedes in enjoying the most airtime as a full mainstream brand team over Toyota, Renault and Honda.

"Our F1 engagement is a vital part of the corporate strategy," he said. "There is hardly a better platform than Formula One to demonstrate the values of our brand."

BMW's position in motorsport is far reaching, with their F1 programme supplemented by a successful tenure in touring cars. This will expand in 2009 with a return to sportscars in the American Le Mans Series and an entry into the World Superbike Championship.