Zurich Gnome

The journal of a Swiss-based motor-racing enthusiast.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

What's in a name?

It had never occured to me that the BMW Sauber F1.06 was BMW's first ever F1 car. To be honest I'll still think of it as a Sauber, in much the same way as I occasionally think of the engines in the back of the McLaren being Ilmor engines, rather than Mercedes. Obviously in the business world there's lots of name changes when companies change hands, as well as a fair degree of freedom to keep names or replace them depending on the new owner's perception of the relative brands.

Ferrari, for example, remained Ferrari even when FIAT took over, and Aston Martin are still around despite being owned by Ford. But Mercedes chose the other route with Ilmor. Either way, the F1.06 is a BMW even though its inception was handled by the Sauber design team (who are now BMW employees). Pretty much the same holds true for Honda, and of course, Renault.

In fact, Toyota and Williams are the only teams that really reflect their names. And coincidentally Williams are now back with Cosworth, the manufacturer that originally supplied them with engines back in the late 70s. Of course, the ownership of that particular engine maker has changed a few times, but then, what's in a name?


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