The BMW World Superbike squad has been in the news a lot recently, as the German team finalized their 2011 rider line-up, including the signing of 2010 WSBK title runner up Leon Haslam. But the German-language publication Speedweek has much less positive news about the BMW WSBK factory team, concerning the other side of their 2011 line-up. For Speedweek is reporting that BMW is having a clear-out of mechanics and management, ridding themselves of the non-German members of the WSBK crew.
Chief casualty is team manager Davide Tardozzi, who has reportedly been fired, and then banned from the BMW garage for the final round of World Superbikes at Magny-Cours this weekend. Rumors have been floating round the WSBK paddock for some time now that BMW were unhappy with Tardozzi, despite the Italian having been instrumental in improving the results for the German team. The remainder of the team is still under contract for the final race in France, but Speedweek is reporting that the non-German crew members are threatening to mutiny. They have yet to receive offers of a new contract for 2011, amidst complaints by BMW that the non-Germans are not present at team HQ often enough, the team also threatening not to pay their outstanding salary over the issue.
This has not gone down well, and a strike may be brewing in the BMW garage. Several mechanics could refuse to work unless they are paid in full, and with the WSBK season finale happening this weekend, there is little time to resolve the situation. If part of the crew do go on strike, it is uncertain what Troy Corser and Ruben Xaus would do, but the riders may not feel comfortable riding without the crew they have grown to trust in their garages. Whether this is a storm in a teacup or a deadly hurricane threatening the team, we shall see on Friday, when practice gets underway.