BMW Sauber secure last place on the grid for coming season
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Motor racing's governing body FIA has awarded BMW Sauber the 13th and last entry for next year's Formula One season. The Swiss team will replace outgoing Japanese squad Toyota.
REUTERS - Swiss-based Sauber will take departed Toyota's place as Formula One's 13th team next season, the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement on Thursday.
"The FIA has written to inform BMW Sauber AG that their application for an entry in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship has been successful," the FIA said, referring to the team by its former name.
"Subject to their signing the Concorde Agreement (the commercial agreement that binds teams to the series until 2012), BMW Sauber will be awarded the 13th entry in the Championship, taking the place of the departing Toyota team."
Munich-based carmaker BMW, who bought an 80 percent stake in the team in 2005, announced in July that they were pulling out of the sport at the end of the season just finished.
A deal to sell the team to mysterious Swiss-based investment fund Qadbak fell through and BMW said last week that they had handed back control to founder Peter Sauber.
The team had by then already lost their place on the grid to Malaysian-backed newcomers Lotus F1, with the FIA saying Sauber were the official reserve should any other team decide to withdraw.
That vacancy was provided by the Toyota team, who declared after the final race of the year in Abu Dhabi that they were pulling out.
However the FIA held back from confirming Sauber's place pending clarification from Toyota about what, if anything, they intended to do with their team and concerns about Qadbak's funding.
Sauber have already reached an agreement with Ferrari to use the Italian company's engines next year, as they did in their previous existence before the BMW takeover. Former BMW-Sauber team principal Mario Theissen welcomed the FIA's confirmation.
"We are delighted that the FIA has granted our team the 13th place on the grid. It brings to a close a difficult period of uncertainty for us," he said.
"The team can now turn its full attention to preparing for the forthcoming season. We have no doubt that Peter Sauber and his team will justify their nomination through good performance, and we wish them all every success in the future."
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