Are BMW the Honda of 2009?
August 7, 2009
In a previous blog I described BMW as the Honda of 2009, in that it was Honda’s disastrous 2008 season that caused them (or gave them an excuse to) pull out of F1 at the end of that year. BMW have also had a dreadful season which is a major reason why they have taken the decision not to sign the new Concorde Agreement and to pull out at the end of 2009.
However Honda’s approach appears to be have been far more supportive to the F1 team than BMW. Honda sold the team to Ross Brawn and the management team for a small token sum and then gave them something in the order of $100 million with which to keep the team going and to find new financial backers. A key part of this was the agreement, involving FOTA, that the ‘new’ team would have the benefit of prize money/ media royalties which would have been due to Honda, should they have continued, in other words Brawn were being treated as an existing team rather than a new entrant. The recent statements by former owner and founder of the Sauber team which BMW acquired, Peter Sauber, suggest that as a deal going forward has not been found before the new Concorde Agreement has been signed (due, in Sauber’s view, to the high demands of BMW) then the team cannot be treated as an ongoing team as was the case with Brawn/Honda, this means they have lost many millions in income which would have made the saving of the team more likely. Of course there is still a good chance that Sauber will race next year in some shape or form, what is clear is that it looks like BMW are taking a far tougher position on the rescue of their former team than Honda did with theirs at the end of last year.