BMW had been an engine supplier to the teams in Formula One prior to its entry as a constructor. During this short time of its presence in the Formula One, the BMW Sauber Team made some of the most advanced cars for the races.
The engines for the cars were supplied by the Munich factory whereas the chassis building was kept with Sauber’s Hinwil facility. The nomenclature the team used for naming the car was – F1. (Dot) followed by the year in two digits. So the cars that competed in the series during the BMW Sauber’s Formula One challenge were named; F1.06, F1.07, F1.08 and F1.09 respectively.BMW Sauber F1.06
The car made its debut in the Bahrain Grand Prix and was seen as a pleasant surprise by many since it was the team’s (as BMW Sauber) inaugural year. Powered by BMW’s 2.4 liter V8 – P86 engine, the car quickly gained pace to get the team two podium finishes that year; one for Nick Heidfeld at the Hungarian Grand Prix and second for Robert Kubica at the Italian Grand Prix. Designed by Willy Rampf, the car was constantly upgraded for every race with minor tune-ups. However, the team’s stiffening of the flexible rear wing and addition of the two vertical pylons did stir up a controversy and were later banned. The F1.06 placed the team at the fifth position in the Constructors’ Championship with 36 points.BMW Sauber F1.07
The F1.07 was the first car for the team that was completely designed by BMW with designer Jorg Zander behind the charts. However, owing to the homologation rules of the FIA that year, the car had to use the P86/7 that was heavily based on the previous year’s 2.4 liter V8 P86 engine. The car did have a different rear wing which, rather than the traditional pylon mounted design, was mounted by endplates for better aerodynamic performance. That year, the team also adopted the QuickShift for its gearbox. In a year that was dominated by Ferraris and McLarens, the car did manage to get Nick Heidfeld two podium finishes; one at the Canadian Grand prix and Second at the Hungarian Grand Prix. The team had amassed 101 points placing it at the second spot for the World Constructors’ Championship (WCC) that year.BMW Sauber F1.08
BMW launched the F1.08 on the 14th of January that year at the BMW Welt with Robert Kubica behind the wheels and the car made its track debut at Valencia the next day. The promising F1.08 had Willy Rampf as its designer for the chassis and Markus Duesmann as its designer for the power train. Although the car used the P86 based P86/8 engine, with the new FIA rules in place there was a major overhaul in its design from previous ones. According to the rules, all teams had to use the standard McLaren Electronic System ECU which prevented the driving aids like traction control and engine braking. Also the teams were needed to use the same gear box for four races.
The car saw a change in the side-pod areas which made the airflow cleaner and smoother over the rear wing thus leading to an increase in the downforce. The car also saw a new front wing that was suspended above its nose and vertical fins (antler) on the nosecone during the testing. The team secured its first F1 win in the F1.08 at the Canadian Grand Prix (Robert Kubica) making it the first BMW chassis to win in the Formula One. The team further had a great year where it secured 135 points to end up 3rd in the WCC.BMW Sauber F1.09
With another year where the FIA did some major rules changing, the F1.09 was practically a clean sheet design. The team went back to the drawing boards and delivered a car that had completely redefined aerodynamics, the option of KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery System) and the return of slicks. However, that year BMW announced that it would be pulling out of Formula One.