BMW’s longstanding motorsport boss Dr Mario Thiessen has announced his retirement.
The 58-year-old German has held the role of the marque’s motorsport director for the last twelve years, and was a key figure in BMW’s return foray to F1 – after being an engine supplier in the early-to-mid-1980s – with Williams as an engine supplier in 2000. Thiessen was a key figure in the outfit’s decision to split with Williams (at the end of the 2005 season) and buy into the Sauber outfit.
As Team Principal, Thiessen was part of the outfit’s rise that peaked with Robert Kubica taking his (and the team’s) maiden win at Canada in 2008, but a combination of poor 2009 form and the global credit crunch led to BMW withdrawing from F1 at the end of the season.
BMW’s motorsport involvement has subsequently been limited to its ongoing involvement in the World Touring Car Championship and Le Mans Series racing, although it recently announced that it would rejoin the DTM series in 2012.
Thiessen hands over his position to Jens Marquardt, who previously served in a senior management position with Toyota Motorsport, the Japanese carmaker’s former F1 team.
[Original image via LAT]