Mercedes & BMW to Leave F1?
According to the aforementioned source, the management board of Mercedes-Benz was only one vote away from announcing the German manufacturer's withdrawal from Formula 1 this week. Following Daimler AG chief executive Dieter Zetsche's proposal to submit the company's participation in Formula 1 to a vote, the permission to continue was granted with 3 votes for and 2 against.
It seems that Daimler AG has committed to continue the partnership with the McLaren outfit for one more season, but will likely revise their position in Formula 1 at the end of 2010. And that brings us to the other German manufacturer in the series, BMW.
The same source revealed that BMW are also considering pulling out of the sport in the unfortunate case of not securing the 2009 Manufacturer's title. The Sauber F1 team is likely to lose the support of BMW if they finish the upcoming season empty-handed. That would be a great blow for the German manufacturer, who has invested tons of money into the 2009 F1 programme in general and Kinetic Energy Recovery System in particular.
F1 supreme Bernie Ecclestone had sensed the danger of the sport losing more manufacturers last week, as he insisted there's a need for long-term commitments between car makers and F1 – in exchange of certain guarantees – in order to prevent that from happening.
In January this year, Renault have also confirmed support for their F1 operations “for one more year”, making no further comments on their future involvement in the sport from 2010 onwards. Panasonic Toyota F1 team is also under a lot of pressure to perform well in 2009, as the Japanese big spenders are unlikely to fund their unproductive F1 operations further more.