F1 news outlets are going overboard in their speculation that BMW is on the verge of a return to the sport at the highest level thanks to an engine agreement with McLaren’s road car division, but a spokesperson for the German manufacturer says the rumours are way off the mark.
In a statement BMW confirmed, “When we decided to pull out of Formula 1 in 2009 it was a long-term strategic decision of the company.”
“We wanted to put some of the F1 resources into the research and development of alternative power-train solutions and so BMW did.”
“We established ourselves as the leading premium car manufacturer in the field of electric mobility.”
“We are watching the developments in the world of motorsport, but currently we have no plans to re-enter Formula 1,” added the statement.
BMW’s main motorsport involvement at the moment is in DTM and customer support for teams using their cars in the numerous GT3 championships around the globe.
In 2005 BMW teamed up with Sauber to form BMW Sauber F1 Team which lasted until 2009 when the manufacturer pulled the plug on the project, departing the sport with one victory in 70 starts.
Prior to that BMW supplied engines to Williams from 2000 to 2005. A decade earlier, between 1982 to 1988, they supplied the likes of Brabham, ATS, Arrows, Benetton and Ligier.
Notably the BMW M12/13/1 of 1986, which powered the Benetton, Brabham, and Arrows teams, remains the most powerful engine Formula 1 had ever seen at the time and for a decade thereafter. It is also the most powerful engine ever produced by BMW for any application.
When asked how powerful the engine was BMW engineering guru Paul Rosche recalled, “It must have been around 1,400 horsepower. We don’t know for sure because the dyno didn’t go beyond 1,280 horsepower…”
Highlights of the M12/13/1 include the highest recorded straight line speed in Formula 1 history, when Gerhard Berger’s Benetton B186 was clocked at an incredible 351.22 km/h (218.23 mph) during the Italian Grand Prix at Monza.