“I think they could come in,” he added. “The amount of money they spent was not significant in the grand scheme of things. It makes sense for them to return.”
BMW supplied engines to Ecclestone’s Brabham team from 1982 to 1987, during which time Nelson Piquet won the drivers’ championship.
The German manufacturer returned to F1 with Williams in 2000 but split with them after six years. They took over the Sauber team in 2006 and made rapid progress, winning the Canadian Grand Prix in 2008. BMW also gave Sebastian Vettel his F1 debut at Indianapolis in 2007, substituting for the injured Robert Kubica.
But the following season was a disaster and BMW quit the sport at the end of the year, handing control of their team back to Peter Sauber.
Since scrapping their F1 programme BMW has concentrated its efforts on road car-based competition. It entered Germany’s popular DTM touring car series last year and won the constructors’ championship at its first attempt while Bruno Spengler scooped the drivers’ title. BMW signed ex-Marussia F1 driver Timo Glock to its DTM team earlier this year.
Lewis Hamilton receives Daytona 500 invitation from Bubba Wallace
Much would need to be worked out, starting with how much garage and grandstand access would be afforded for a 2021 season opener that likely would occur during a still ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
He was a spectator (with racing legend Mario Andretti) at four-time champion Jeff Gordon’s final Cup race as a full-time in the 2015 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. In 2011, Hamilton swapped cars with three-time champion Tony Stewart at Watkins Glen International.
Having rubbed shoulders with other racing greats so often, it only would be fitting if Hamilton — who is one victory from tying Michael Schumacher’s career record and also could tie the F1 record with a seventh championship this season — spent some time with the greatest basketball player of all time.