Theissen to step down as BMW Motorsport Director
24 November 2010 – It has been confirmed by BMW Motorsport that, after spending more than a decade in the post of Director, Mario Theissen will be replaced by Jens Marquardt - Toyota Formula 1 Team Principal of last season - from July 2011 onwards. The former has overseen numerous programmes for the Bavarian company during his reign which include its return to F1 as an engine manufacturer and debut as an entrant.
Theissen’s occupying of the position will officially end on the final day of June, having begun the stint with the company in April 1999. In F1, he guided it into a partnership with Williams which spanned between the 2000 to 2005 seasons before the manufacturer entered as an outright team in 2006.
Celebrating its maiden pole position with Robert Kubica at the 2008 Bahrain Grand Prix, the Pole then led Nick Heidfeld to an historic 1-2 result in Canada which resulted in him leading the World Drivers’ Championship before falling back later in the year. BMW left Formula 1 at the end of 2009, selling its squad back to Peter Sauber.
“We have planned and prepared this changeover very carefully,” explains Theissen, who – having joined BMW as a development engineer in 1977 – described how German touring car series DTM is now the company’s main motorsport prerogative.
“With the realignment of BMW Motorsport and the decision in favour of the DTM project, the path to a successful future on the race track has been mapped out. Now is also the best time to entrust the leadership of BMW Motorsport to new hands.
“I have no doubt that in Jens Marquardt we have found the right man for this exciting task and I look forward to our time working together. On 1 July 2011 he will be perfectly equipped to take over the reins.”
“Heading up BMW Motorsport is a dream job for me and a tremendous show of confidence,” Marquardt added.
“The endurance events with the BMW M3, the broad-based customer sport programme, the promotion of junior racing talent and, above all, the DTM project are all fascinating challenges. I know that Mario Theissen will support me in every way and I can hardly wait to get down to work.”