BMW Sauber assessing rescue proposals
BMW Sauber has several rescue proposals on the table and has applied to keep its place in Formula One next year despite BMW's shock
departure, team principal Mario Theissen said on Thursday.
German car manufacturer BMW announced last month that it was pulling out at the end of the season, leaving its majority-owned Swiss-based
team desperately seeking new backers to stay in business. That task became tougher when the governing International Automobile Federation
(FIA) invited interested parties to apply by last Monday for what had been BMW's place in the championship.
Three new teams have already been accepted for 2010 but other would-be entrants, such as Prodrive, were disappointed to be rejected in
June. It was not known if any of them had re-applied for the 13th slot.
Theissen told reporters at the European Grand Prix in Valencia that his team had submitted an application under its current name.
"We are now waiting for the decision. We have applied and it is for the FIA to decide if we are accepted," he said. "We
did not have to show an engine supply contract but we have given some indication, we are talking to engine manufacturers and there would be
a solution. It is clear that the team would have to be renamed after a new investor steps in."
Theissen said he and founder Peter Sauber, who has a 20 percent stake in the team, were evaluating proposals from interested parties and
hoped the FIA would give them some leeway.
"We would appreciate getting as much time as possible because as you can imagine its not easy," he said. "It's our first
priority now to keep the team up and running under new ownership and that is something you cannot sort out within a few days."
Theissen said Sauber, who said this month that his initial bid for the team had been rejected because BMW's demands were too high, was
"trying very hard to use his connections" to keep it alive.
"There are several interested parties and we are just about to evaluate the individual proposals," he added.
Talks with Sauber's long-term partners Petronas, the state-owned Malaysian oil company, were also ongoing and Theissen said it was BMW's
first priority to keep the team alive. He hinted also that he could ultimately stay on as principal of the team, as Ross Brawn did when he
organised a management buyout of the former Honda operation earlier this year.
"That's open and I'm not thinking about it," the German said. "The first priority is to secure the future of the team in
my current role with the team and then after the season we can see what will happen to me.
However when asked whether he was disillusioned by BMW's decision to withdraw, he added: "You might ask me this question again a few
months from now. It all depends on what we are able to pull off."