The BMW Sauber team has bolstered its technical department with the appointment of Christoph Zimmermann as its new chief designer.

The 39-year old Swiss national has been promoted from within the ranks at Hinwil and will assume responsibility for the design of the team's race cars from 1 January 2008, although his main focus will be on the 2009 entry. Zimmerman, who will report to technical director Willy Rampf, is a mechanical engineer by trade, and worked as a composite and model designer at Sauber between 1989-99. He left to work at Swift Engineering Inc for two seasons, before returning to Sauber to become head of composite design in 2000.

"On principle, we fill executive positions internally whenever possible," team boss Mario Theissen explained, "It sends an important signal to our workforce, [and] I am delighted that, in Christoph Zimmermann, we have a highly qualified colleague in our ranks who will take over the task of chief designer. From his previous work, he is familiar with the complex technical relationships, as well as the specific operational procedures involved."

Zimmermann takes over from Jorg Zander, who quit the team in the summer to join Honda's 'works' effort in Brackley.

"The team has made great strides in its two development years," Zimmermann pointed out, "I would like to make my own contribution in supporting the team on its successful path to the top."

Theissen confirmed that Zimmermann would also be replaced from within.