Mixed feelings for Theissen as BMW prepare for final GP

by Joanna Cole

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen has told of his mixed feelings ahead of the final Grand Prix of the season which also marks the last race for BMW in F1.

After a season of more lows than highs, the race at Yas Marina – Abu Dhabi marks the 70th and final race for the team, with Peter Sauber hoping to find a way on to the grid for 2010 without BMW.

Brazil was a great race for the team, securing eight points to enable them to move up a place in the Constructors Championship.

“We will be highly motivated once again” said Theissen, “We are looking forward to racing at the new Formula One venue and can't wait to experience the atmosphere at the marina circuit.”

“However, there will of course also be a fair amount of sadness within the team as we set off for Abu Dhabi. After all, this will be our 70th and final race with the BMW Sauber F1 Team.

“With the exception of our fourth and unfortunately final season, I'm more than satisfied with what we have achieved since 2006. In the first three years after the team was founded, we met – and even exceeded – all the aims we set ourselves.”

“We recorded two podium finishes in our first season on the grid, and in our second season we established ourselves as the third-strongest team in the championship. This was the year in which Robert suffered his horrific crash in Montreal. It felt like an eternity until we finally heard the good news that he was ok. The relief meant we were able to celebrate Nick's second place in suitable style.”

“It was in Montreal a year later that we enjoyed our greatest success. From the moment that Robert and Nick crossed the finish line in quick succession to record a 1-2 result, there was no stopping us. We remained part of a three-way battle for the title almost until the end of the season. We notched up 11 podium finishes in total in 2008 and our reliability was excellent.”

“Of course, the whole team is disappointed that we have been unable to build on this success in 2009, as we had hoped to have a say in the title race. But we have never thrown in the towel, even after BMW announced its withdrawal from Formula One, which shows the strong character of our team. I hope that the successor to the BMW Sauber F1 Team will continue along this successful path in Formula One.”

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