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Friday, November 27, 2009

BMW nixes Qadbank, sells team to Sauber

BMW canceled its deal with Qadbank Investments and has reached an agreement to sell the F1 team back to founder Peter Sauber.

Though yet to be confirmed as the 13th entry on the grid for 2010, it appears likely it will be on the list when the FIA publishes its official entries at the end of the month.


Sauber called it one of the worst days of his racing life when he could not reach a deal over the summer before the signing of the Concorde Agreement.

Interestingly, it was announced the Football League has reopened an investigation into Notts County football club, which is also owned by Qadbank Investments. There were rumbles in F1 circles concerning Qadbank Investments, but there is nothing to say that prompted BMW to reconsider.

"I am convinced that the new team has a very good future in F1, whose current transformation with new framework conditions will benefit the private teams," the BBC reports Sauber said. "It also means we can keep the Hinwil location and the majority of workplaces."

Canadian Grand Prix confirmed

It's official. The Canadian Grand Prix is back.

It is reported the five-year, $75-million deal revealed today includes $15 million in government money.

F1's return to North America is set for June 13 at the Gilles-Villeneuve circuit.

Sutil, Liuzzi confirmed

Force India has finalized its 2010 driver lineup, retaining both Adrian Sutil and Vitantonio Liuzzi.

"We are very pleased to retain the services of both Adrian and Tonio for another season," team owner Vijay Mallya said. "We have always maintained that consistency is key at this stage in the team's development and for the first time in many years we will have the continuity of not only the same drivers, but also the same engine and senior management."

Both drivers expressed optimism for the team's potential in 2010.

Sutil: "Next season I want to be in the points on a regular basis, maybe even challenging for the podium, and the team has exactly the same goals. We are going massively in the right direction so with our combined energies I'm confident we can achieve even more than last season."

Liuzzi: "I feel the five races I did in 2009 were a bit of a warm-up: get back racing, learn the car, get the feeling back. Now I've done that I feel ready to really push next season. We were pretty strong in the last part of the 2009 season so if we pick up where we stopped I think we could be in for a good year."

The team will test DTM's Paul di Resta and American JR Hildebrand in the beginning of December at Jerez, and will name a third driver in the coming weeks.

In other driver news…

Pedro de la Rosa, who has been linked to both Campos Meta and US F1, says he is still working toward a race seat in 2010, but is keeping his options open.

"I don't know what will happen after that. I don't know what team I will drive for or in what capacity," he is quoted by the EFE news agency. "I can happily stay at McLaren as a reserve driver, and I could do that while racing for another team, or just race for another team. I don't know, that's the answer."

Meanwhile, sources report Alex Wurz has ruled himself out of the Charlotte-based US F1 squad. And former Honda test driver Mike Conway looks set to run Mercedes GP at Jerez along with Japanese Formula 3 champion Marcus Ericsson.

Keep up with the F1 2010 - driver line-ups

Source: FOTA accepts Lotus and Manor

The Formula One Teams' Association (FOTA) has approved Lotus and Manor for membership, according to sources who spoke to Racer and AUTOSPORT magazines.

Campos Meta and Team US F1 have already been accepted into the organization.

VW looking to supply engines?

Volkswagen is seriously considering F1 as an engine supplier when rules change in 2012.

"If you're the world's largest manufacturer is natural that we're thinking about [Formula 1], but not before 2012," rep Hans-Joachim Stuck told AUTOSPORT. "We're looking for innovative things, and Formula 1 is the pinnacle of motorsport."

AUTOSPORT reports the company sees the direction engine rules are heading, especially the "world engine" option, as more attractive than team ownership. Stuck explained:

"Two years ago there was some talk that Volkswagen is going to buy the Red Bull F1 team, which we didn't need to buy. Why should we stick with one team if we can give our engines to more teams? If you buy Red Bull and Adrian Newey wants to go flying or fishing, the team is not successful any more. Look at BMW. They bought this multi-million dollar wind tunnel and a supercomputer and they now close the doors. Building an engine and providing it to a team is the best way."
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