Is that's what it boils down to? The dominant faction within BMW felt that, having spent what the company has spent in past years, it should be entitled to more success so they are turning out the lights on their Formula 1 operation.
The announcement leaves more questions than answers. The company had, up until very recently, asserted its commitment to Formula 1 and the series, still the single most watched motorsport series on the planet, is on track to become a profit center for all teams by 2011 when the agreed to budget cap of $40 million will be below team's minimums revenue share from rights and venues.
So what's going on? An immediate need for cost cutting? A revolt against Mario Theissen, the head of BMW Motorsport who has been instrumental in BMW expanding from a Formula 1 engine supplier to a full fledged constructor team?
Was it a reaction to FOTA's decision to abandon K.E.R.S. which BMW had been the strongest proponent of before the start of the season and which fit the company's "Efficient Dynamics" marketing focus? Was BMW upset because it did not get rule changes that would advantage them?
The danger for BMW is that it could be seen as wanting to be the big fish in the small pond of ALMS and WTCC now that it failed to reach its goals in the world's top series. Costs in minor series are a fraction of those in F1 and it will be argued that sedan racing is more relevant to BMW's core business. BMW has had a tough go in ALMS and WTCC as well this past year and I'm sure the prospect of some of the ex- F1 money will be welcome news to those teams.
This all played perfectly into Max Mosley's hands, the FIA has already issued an "I told you so" memo while FOTA, which BMW seemed to be a reluctant member of, responded with vague promises of help and non sequitur utterances about fan participation in decision making. Just when we thought we were out...
We feel especially bad for the people in Hinwil, Sauber deserves better than to be dropped in the scrap heap from one day to the next. We hope they find a way back to the track soon. Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld's career's are now also up in the air.
Finally I'm not sure how hardcore BMW fans will react to the announcement that BMW is viewing its future in terms of "premium" rather than pure performance.
"...a resolute step in view of our company's strategic realignment. Premium will increasingly be defined in terms of sustainability and environmental compatibility. This is an area in which we want to remain in the lead. In line with our Strategy Number One, we are continually reviewing all projects and initiatives to check them for future viability and sustainability."
That was Norbert Reithofer Chairman of the Board of BMW. While performance can be "premium" and could certainly be measured in "green-ness", I'm sure many worry Strategy Number One will turn into Number Two for the "M" for motorsport brand.
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And here is the rest of it.