BMW to announce F1 withdrawal on Wednesday morning

BMW looks set to rock the Formula One world on Wednesday morning by announcing it will withdraw from the sport at the end of 2009. International media have been summoned to a press conference at the German marque's Munich headquarters at 10am -...

BMW looks set to rock the Formula One world on Wednesday morning by announcing it will withdraw from the sport at the end of 2009.

International media have been summoned to a press conference at the German marque's Munich headquarters at 10am - less than three hours' time - to discuss "current developments in motor sport".

Amid a disappointing season and a lack of progress in overcoming the difficulties, the BMW board is believed to have called time on the Swiss based BMW-Sauber project.

Present at the emergency press conference will be team boss Mario Theissen as well as BMW board chairman Norbert Reithofer and director for development Klaus Draeger.

A source said the news to be revealed on Wednesday is "important" but would not elaborate. It is speculated BMW, having bought the independent Sauber team at the end of 2005, may announce it will instead turn its attention to other forms of motor sport, including perhaps a return to Le Mans.

The timing of the announcement is almost certainly because BMW has not signed the new Concorde Agreement, which is set to be announced imminently and would have bound the manufacturer to F1 until the end of 2012.

It is feared that Toyota and Renault may now follow suit. Honda withdrew at the end of the 2008 season.

With Ferrari's Felipe Massa in hospital and expected to be out of action for the rest of the season, the BMW news has sparked rumours that Robert Kubica could be drafted in to replace the injured Brazilian.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Felipe Massa , Mario Theissen
Teams Ferrari , Sauber