The boss of BMW M says the brand's priorities lie elsewhere.
Formula 1, at least here in America, is more visible than it's ever been. The world's top-tier motorsport class is enjoying hard-earned time in the public eye. Just last month the Miami Grand Prix introduced throngs of Americans to the sport, much to the chagrin of local housewives.
Both Porsche and Audi have taken notice of F1, and plan to enter the sport in some capacity when new rules take effect in 2026. But BMW M's new boss, Frank van Meel says the brand has "no ambitions for Formula 1" despite the sport's rise in popularity. BMW has some history in the sport, but clearly, it plans to keep its involvement at just that: history.
The last time BMW was on the F1 grid, it was in connection with Sauber - now tied in with Alfa Romeo - during which BMW Sauber picked up a single victory with Robert Kubica leading Nick Heidfeld in a 1-2 finish in Canada, 2008. That partnership ended in 2009 when BMW left the sport to pursue "the development of new drive technologies and projects in the field of sustainability."
M boss Frank Van Meel says instead, BMW is going to focus on another top-tier motorsport: endurance racing. The brand has been developing a Le Mans Hypercar entrant that'll compete alongside the likes of Toyota and Porsche for some time, utilizing a hybrid powertrain that could easily serve as a development tool for roadgoing M cars.
Van Meel stated in an interview that "Formula 1 is still discussing the regulations around electrification. So for us, it was very clear. Let's go faster into that [electrification] segment." For now, at least, it seems F1 doesn't align with BMW's views on sustainability.
While many of BMW's current racing exploits, like the BMW M4 GT racer, are still purely combustion-powered, the brand has realized the need for change. Van Meel says it's important for BMW and M to have "the [electrification] story of transformation embraced as fast as possible."
That statement also points to growing concerns around the environmental impact of motorsport, and the industry as a whole. During the Miami GP, Aston Martin driver Sebastian Vettel protested climate inaction with a shirt that read "Miami Grand Prix 2060, First Grand Prix Under Water. Act Now Or Swim Later."
Frankly, unless we see a greater push towards electrification from F1, it's unlikely we'll see an F1 car with "BMW POWER" written across the wing anytime soon.