BMW confirm 2009 is their final F1 season

BMW Sauber logoBMW have made the shock announcement that they will be leaving Formula One at the end of the 2009 season. BMW have made their decision after a management board meeting on Tuesday.

“Of course, this was a difficult decision for us, but it’s a resolute step in view of our company’s strategic realignment,” Dr Norbert Reithofer, chairman of the Board of Management of BMW, explained.

“Premium will be increasingly defined in terms of sustainability and environmental compatibility. This is an area in which we want to remain in the lead.

“We are continually reviewing all projects and initiatives to check them for future viability and sustainability. Our Formula One campaign is thus less a key promoter for us.”

BMW have seen a downturn in car sales this year as the global economy has faltered. Their Formula 1 team had hoped to be challenging for the title within the next three years however this seasons has seen a poor run with the team currently sitting on just eight points. This is in stark contrast to last season when Robert Kubica scored BMW s first victory at the Canadian Grand Prix and the team won 135 points during the season.

Following the shock announcement, the rumour mill is back in full swing. With Ferrari looking for a replacement driver for the rest of the season after Felipe Massa s accident last weekend, there are strong rumours that Kubica could switch teams for the rest of the season. There are also rumours that Toyota may follow Honda and BMW and also pull out of the sport.