Theissen optimistic on 2010, but time ticking away

BMW F1’s technical director Dr. Mario Theissen remains hopeful of a spot in F1 next season, despite his need to either woo Frank Williams or watch another team bail out.

His cars might have looked somewhat mediocre in Friday practice – and hey, it’s only Friday – but more importantly, Theissen is confident they will still be on the grid in Bahrain next year. For fear of preaching to the converted, with 26 confirmed entrants, the grid is full. Either every team must agree to expand it to 28, or one of the exisitng/incoming teams must do a runner.

The biggest single stumbling block for Theissen seems to be Sir Frank Williams (and the questionnable sources that would help finance his team’s 2010 entrance, by extenstion), who has stated that he will oppose the expansion of the F1 grid.

The wonderful fellows at Autosport have been picking Dr. Mario’s brains…

“We are in discussions now – we means the future owner, plus Peter Sauber is involved, with the FIA and FOM in order to get a place on the grid,” said Theissen at Interlagos. “That is all I can say at the moment.

“Currently we are talking about the 14th position… and the regulations say it needs unanimous support. ”

When asked by AUTOSPORT if he believes the team could convince Williams to stop its veto on the plans, Theissen said: “Let’s say, I would not understand if Frank really keeps his position as the only opponent.

“F1 needs to get back to proper business and every team sometimes needs support from the other teams, and it will be the other way around as well.”

However, referring to the Qadbak consortium simply as “the future owner” is liable to do little to assuage Sir Frank’s professed concern (of course, one could argue it’s the extra competition he really objects to) about exactly who has come to Sauber F1’s rescue after the ‘BMW’ part suddenly disappeared.

The main problem for the, umm, Super Mario Brothers F1 Team in the short term is uncertainty.

“There is no strict deadline but apparently it makes life difficult not to have the grid position because the team has to talk to drivers, to sponsors, and without a grid position you cannot really do a deal,” Theissen said.

“We expect to be on the grid one way or the other. Plan A would be as a 13th team and Plan B as a 14th team.”

Meanwhile the one person in this saga whose future is secure, Robert Kubica, has spoken up for his current employers, and wished them all the best. Nice of the guy, especially as he was so often criticized for bad-mouthing his team back when he was their poster boy.

“It is not an easy situation for all the guys who are working with me, and will still work with me at the next two races,”

“I think they have everything to be part of F1. But they are not on the grid, so I think it is a very delicate moment and delicate time for them. It is a difficult situation. I just hope they will be on the grid, because there is a lot of passion there.”

The real worst case scenario here, as I see it, would be for us to actually lose Theissen’s team, despite having fewer than 26 cars on the grid in the end – something which seems entirely possible. Presumably time must be running out. I guess the sole consolation is that the Lotus-badged entry that so swiftly replaced them does at least seem to be coming along nicely.

What do you think? Will Theissen and co. be involved next season? And under what circumstances?

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