BMW HAS SOLD its Formula 1 team back to its original owner, Peter Sauber, after Qadbak?s planned purchase of the outfit collapsed last week.
The German manufacturer pulled the pin on its original deal with Qadbak as concerns arose over the legitimacy of the mysterious Middle-Eastern consortium. Last week, Swiss newspaper Sonntagszeitung reported that the investment group was simply a front for British fraudster Russell King.
King?s alleged involvement explained the FIA?s hesitancy to award the outfit a license to join the grid, but with Sauber now coming back on board, the Hinwil-based team is expected to make a swift return to F1 pending the approval of the World Motor Sport Council.
Sauber admitted he was relieved by the outcome of the deal, which is set to save hundreds of jobs and see 13 teams feature in the Formula 1 paddock next year.
?I am convinced that the new team has a very good future in Formula One, whose current transformation with new framework conditions will benefit the private teams,? he said.
?Our staff here are highly competent and motivated, and I look forward to taking on this new challenge together with them. I would like to thank BMW for four shared years that have in the main been very successful.?
Sauber is set to be powered by Ferrari, with the Scuderia?s test driver, Giancarlo Fisichella in line to fill one of the seats.
Nick Heidfeld has been linked with the other seat should he fail to secure a drive with Mercedes Grand Prix and complete an all-German line-up alongside Nico Rosberg.
However, one potential complication to Sauber?s return to the grid is the potential sale of Toyota, which is reportedly being canvassed by Serbian F1 aspirants Stefan GP.
As Sauber are not signatories of the Concorde Agreement, the team will need to rely on FIA intervention to gain should Toyota manage to sell its operations, as the Japanese manufacturer in contrast decide to commit until 2012 despite its uncertain future.