Dr. Mario Theissen, who is admittedly one of favorites in the paddock, is growing anxious over the 2010 season as the transitional team is in limbo waiting for a non-existent 14th slot in the grid or a team to bow out of the series.
BMW’s final race this Sunday was a sad moment for anyone who is a fan, employee, or investor in the team. Honda, Bridgestone, and others may leave but BMW’s exit cuts to the core. Dr. Theissen said:
“Everybody says it’s very likely another team will go, that we are unlikely to have 14 teams ready for next year, maybe not even 13,” said Theissen. “But that’s all speculation at the moment. What we know is there’s no unanimous agreement on the 14th team, so another team pulling out is the easiest way (to be in F1) from our perspective.”
He added: “Naturally the backers are keen to have a decision soon because you can only sign driver and sponsor contracts when you have a place on the grid, so they are pushing, together with us.
“There is no clear deadline on this, but obviously it becomes more difficult day by day.
“I don’t think, though, we could leave it as late as mid-January. I hope it will be decided before the end of the year.”
With the fate of the team being hinged on an amended regulatory code allowing for a 14th team (which is being fought fiercely by Williams F1) or the demise of another team, there is some question as to just what exactly Dr. Theissen will do if they fail to secure a slot on the 2010 grid.
Autosport has a story in which Dr. Theissen says he is fine. Much of the rumor mill was ladled on by suggestion he was bereft of a job but as the proverbial “Norbert Haug” of BMW (less the Husky), I was miffed at those suggestions. Dr. Theissen is an intelligent guy and with BMW’s other motorsport initiatives, I can’t imagine him standing in a soup line any time soon.
“It’s open,” said Theissen about his future. “I certainly have the option to stay with BMW with the other racing programmes. But I deliberately pushed the decision out of my way until the final race, so I will decide in the coming weeks.
“But the top priority is to get a place on the grid for the team, and even after that I will think about my own future.”