Series newsletter 2009-01-30

Formula BMW Europe raring to go. The deadline for interested junior drivers to register for the second season of the Formula BMW Europe season is just a few days away. The final day for registration for the successful junior series is...

Formula BMW Europe raring to go.

The deadline for interested junior drivers to register for the second season of the Formula BMW Europe season is just a few days away. The final day for registration for the successful junior series is 31st January 2009. Another attractive schedule awaits the drivers this year, with races on the programme at no less than seven Formula One weekends. However, before they line up for the first race of the season, the youngsters head to the "Circuit de la Catalunya" in Barcelona for their first official test and to gain valuable experience.

Formula BMW Europe is already planning for the future: the partnership with the "WSK International Series" will help to recognise the greatest karting talented early on, and to facilitate their first steps in Formula sport. Important kart manufacturers and ambitious drivers are features of the international kart series. In 2009, outstanding talented youngsters will be selected by WSK (Winning Series of Karting), in cooperation with BMW, and invited to the annual licence course in Valencia.

New Management Partner for Formula BMW Americas.

The Formula BMW Americas series has found itself a prestigious new Management Partner in the form of Rahal Letterman Racing. The racing team is also responsible for two race versions of the BMW M3, which BMW is sending to North America in 2009 to compete in the American Le Mans Series (ALMS). Most of the management functions and key individuals in the 2008 organizational structure shall remain in place. "We are pleased to have found, in Rahal Letterman Racing, a professional, well-integrated partner with great experience in US motorsport," commented BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen.

The starting line-up also boasts new faces: the Anderson Racing team makes its debut in the 2009 season. The crucial phase of preparations for the season starts on 16th and 17th February, when the competitors take part in the first test sessions at the "Palm Beach International Raceway". Deadline for registrations for the 2009 Formula BMW Americas series is 15th February.

Alexander Rossi wins Formula BMW World Final.

The Formula BMW World Final in Mexico City was a total success. The Mexican fans were treated to some thrilling races, and were joined by BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen as a deserved winner was eventually crowned champion: Alexander Rossi (US). However, the 17-year-old Eurointernational driver did not have everything his own way. With the exception of the second free training session, the Formula BMW Americas champion failed to win a single session. The American did, however, manage to finish fourth in the points table used to determine the starting grid positions, thus giving himself every chance of victory going into the final race.

Despite a poor start, Rossi never gave up and gradually worked his way through the field until he eventually moved past Michael Christensen (DK) to take the lead. He retained this position through to the end of the race, and celebrated as the first American Formula BMW World Final champion. The large crowds at the circuit had their fingers crossed for their compatriot Esteban Gutierrez (MX), but the overall winner of the 2008 Formula BMW Europe series, who started from pole position, had to make do with third place.

Mario Theissen was positive when summing up the first Formula BMW World Final in the Americas: "I think we had a fantastic event. The reception from the Mexican fans was immense. It was important that a local driver, Esteban Gutierrez, finished up on the podium. All-in-all, we had a great weekend, with three very worthy drivers in the top 3."

Formula BMW Pacific prepares for new season.

The start of the second season is also just around the corner for Formula BMW Pacific, which boasts drivers from numerous countries around the entire Asian Pacific region. Preparations are in full swing among teams, organisers and drivers. One thing is certain: this year's race calendar, which will be finalised shortly, will also boast challenging circuits and appearances at Formula One race weekends for the junior drivers and their teams. Many newcomers are looking forward to their first experiences in a Formula car like the FB02. Thrilling race action is guaranteed when the Formula BMW Pacific series gets its season underway on the undercard of the Formula One Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang in April. Currently, numerous Formula BMW Pacific teams are testing promising talents in Malaysia (MY) and China (CN).

Formula BMW careers: Sebastien Buemi.

Four become five: the coming Formula One season will see five former Formula BMW drivers take positions as regular drivers to do battle for points and victories -- making up a quarter of the driving line-up confirmed so far. Alongside Germans Nico Rosberg (Williams), Timo Glock (Toyota), Adrian Sutil (Force India) and Sebastian Vettel (Red Bull), Switzerland's Sebastien Buemi will also make his debut in motorsport's elite class for Scuderia Toro Rosso. The 20-year-old ended the 2005 Formula BMW ADAC championship, as it was then known, as runner-up. He also finished the previous season in third place.

"I am very happy," Buemi commented after the announcement that he would race in Formula One. "It is almost impossible to describe how it felt when I knew that I will drive in Formula One in 2009. At the end of the day, however, it has not changed my job all that much. Now I can start working hard to ensure I am well prepared for the new season."

Buemi will succeed Vettel at Toro Rosso. The German dominated the 2004 Formula BMW ADAC Championship with 18 victories, and sensationally claimed his first Formula One victory at Monza last year. "There is certainly a bit more pressure coming in just after Sebastian," Buemi admits. "However, he has improved the team, and I am grateful to him for this. It goes without saying that I will do my best to live up to the high standards he has set."

This marks the first time that a former Formula BMW driver has succeeded another as a regular Grand Prix driver in Formula One. It proves that Formula BMW is consistently giving talented young drivers the necessary tools to make the step up into motorsport's elite class. As well as the quintet of Grand Prix drivers, Christian Klien (AT) -- test and reserve driver for the BMW Sauber F1 Team -- also took his first steps in Formula BMW. Nico Huelkenberg (DE) will also play an important role as test driver for Williams.

-credit: fbmw

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About this article
Series Formula BMW
Drivers Nico Rosberg , Christian Klien , Timo Glock , Sebastian Vettel , Adrian Sutil , Sébastien Buemi , Mario Theissen , Alexander Rossi , Esteban Gutierrez , Michael Christensen
Teams Sauber , Force India , Toro Rosso , Williams