EXCLUSIVE Andrea Buzzoni (BMW) - Q&A

Following BMW's decision to withdraw from World Superbikes at the end of the season, sat down with BMW Italia boss Andrea Buzzoni to discuss the revelation and future plans...
By Christian Tiburtius
Hi Andrea, thanks for talking to us, firstly, can you clarify the team organization?

Andrea Buzzoni:
Basically there are two parts involved; BMW Motorrad racing in Munich which is the R&D department for engines and electronics with a staff of 18 or 19 and then there is the operations racing sports management which is led by BMW Italy. BMW Italy has a contract with a service provider, Feel Racing. BMW Italy together with Feel racing as a partner are in charge of all the operations, staff, logistics and development. Operational staff, which include the riders, have a contract with and are employed by Feel Racing, the exception being Marco as he signed a two-year deal with BMW Munich last year which is still in place. Personally, I am employed by BMW Italy.
And how was the team organised last season?

Andrea Buzzoni:
In the previous years we had two separate teams, BMW Italy a factory supported satellite team which later became GoldBet and then the main Munich factory team. The main team also worked with a partner, Alpha Racing, who dealt with operations the same way that Feel Racing does with us.
Where did the decision to withdraw from WSBK come from?

Andrea Buzzoni:
It's the decision of the top management in Munich who decided to redistribute financial resources in a different way within BMW Motorrad.
When you say 'redistribute', does that mean the budget is going to a different racing project?

Andrea Buzzoni:
No, the company decided to invest the amount of money previously used in WSBK in product development. Apart from the reinforcement of customer sports and national championships. The whole racing budget has been reduced substantially, it's a strategic decision.
So the budget isn't going to an as-yet-undisclosed racing project such as MotoGP?

Andrea Buzzoni:
No, it isn't. It will be used for product development. There are no plans for MotoGP.
Why did BMW get into racing and what has changed now to make that invalid?

Andrea Buzzoni:
The tactical reason was to support a new range of sports orientated products which were unknown to our tradition. The old school says that if you launch a Supersport bike such as the 1000R you should support it and give it legitimacy by going racing. Furthermore, I would say that BMW didn't have this racing DNA and wanted to build a racing image. It wanted to get to a new target group of buyers, people who wanted a dynamic bike and had not previously been involved with BMW. On one side you have the tactical support of a product and on the other you have a strategic brand value enlargement. We were previously recognized as producing exclusive touring motorcycles and now we are recognized as producing sports motorcycles.

The decision has nothing to do with anything inside the racing environment or to do with economics. Also it has nothing to do with the changes that Dorna are going to make in WSBK. We are currently having the most successful half season of racing ever, but the decision is a strategic business one made entirely outside the racing world to do with company priorities.
Was the consolidation of the previous two teams into this season's GoldBet team part of that decision?

Andrea Buzzoni:
No, at that time it was simply a clever decision to merge and rationalise the teams. There was no knowledge of this decision at that time. I was involved in that project to basically try to put together the best from the two teams. I believe the current team has the core of technology from the mother company and we are also taking advantage of Italian racing experience and competence. You will notice that 60 or 70 per cent of the paddock is made up of Italian staff.
When operations cease what will you do?

Andrea Buzzoni:
For me personally, I will be working on other projects in BMW Italy. I will finally be able to do just one job rather than two! Don't get me wrong though I have a great passion for this role. I came from the BMW business and it has been a very intense time. I feel I managed to merge a business approach which is sometimes missing in racing with the passion which is sometimes a bit excessive. A business approach avoids adventures and the passion allows you to understand the environment.

It's important to understand the passion though because if not you can't create the relationship and atmosphere you need because in the end it's a sport. You do have an organisation chart, but it's not like in the office. A department in the office is a department but a department in the box is a family and must be treated as a family, the relationships are different. It's a family around the two children who are the riders and it's important that the two riders feel it. As the man in charge I have to create this atmosphere.

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August 06, 2013 7:27 PM

Interesting that a guy IN the know and IN the series says that ultimate horsepower and electronics is NOT required for great racing, and cites BSB as the example. I've said these same things on here, and people go off on one that it'd be sacrilege to rein the bikes in a bit! Thing is... what Andrea says is true - and not JUST for WSBK but for MotoGP too. But don't look for any sense arriving there. It does look like Superstock 1000 will become superfluous though. Mind you - if that resulted in a larger WSBK grid with even more strong competition and teams from the 2 - who'd really mind? All sounds good to me - less factory, more independence, less electronics. I'm still waiting though for Dorna to make a royal hash of the regs so its another MotoGP mess though.


August 05, 2013 10:01 AM

As the guy says, WSB is not production based but prototype and this was not it's intended purpose. It should be much nearer to road bikes though reading his beliefs of the direction does not make happy reading: stock engine and electronics with open chassis! Surely, the first and foremost fundamental should be a standard chassis. With this standard electronics is a great idea as will please manufacturers (purpose to race for this new development area) and benefit customers (standard stuff will be great) and improve racing (no more GPS traction control etc...). Then I think the class needs some performance balancing (like bsb?) so all road bikes don't end up revvy idiotic machines- though, I'm not certain this part is essential. Then have any further homologated parts (therefore available to the general public, perhaps even for a set cost to stop silly money being spent) only permitted that are bolt-ons. With all this, any team (or individual for that matter) can buy and build a

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