Will the name Sauber disappear from the grid? If we have to believe the rumours that are circulating recently around the team, it will. The media speculated last year already about it. However, now the rum ours become much stronger due some recent personal changes within the team. It is also said that there is a new owner. What is true?
At the end of the 2005 season Peter Sauber announced his retirement from Formula One, and sold the Sauber F1 Team to BMW Motorsports. Back then Sauber was a sub topper scoring everyear at least one podium. Remember Heinz Harald Frentzen at Indianapolis in 2003! BMW decided to keep the name Sauber and renamed it to BMW Sauber F1 Team. In 2007 and 2008, the team was a regular visitor of the podium. With Robert Kubica winning a race.
However, in 2008 the financial crisis hit hard and in 2009 the Formula One saw the result. Both Toyota Racing as BMW Motorsport decided to leave the Formula One on “strategic point of view”. Of course, we all know that it was because of the money spending. 28th of July 2009 BMW Motorsport made the announcement they would quit with the team.
After several meetings there was a new owner for the team, well they say there was. Investment group Qadbak Investment Limited was said to buy the BMW Sauber F1 Team. The deal was made, It was said. However, Qadbak never bought the team in the end. Thank god, there was Peter Sauber again who came out of his retirement and bought the Sauber F1 Team back. He said he loved the team to much to let it see going down, and disappear from the grid. Peter Sauber was granted by the FIA to take-over the place of the Toyota Racing team on the grid.
After a couple of years, Peter announced his “retirement” again and introduced Monisha Kalterborn as the new team manager. The first year went well for the team under the lead of Kalterborn. Later it would go downwards. The team came in financial troubles and team member didn’t receive their salary. Probably the most significant incident under the lead of Kalterborn was the driver line up for 2015. The team announced Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson as their drivers.
During the first Grand Prix in Australia, it became clear that Sauber had a major problem. Instead of two there were four drivers assigned as driver. Both Nasr and Ericsson as well Giedo van der Garde and Adrian Sutil. The court In Australia told Giedo van der Garde he was right and was to drive during the Australian Grand Prix. It resulted in Giedo putting on a race overall of Marcus Ericsson and sit in the Sauber. Thank to Bernie Ecclestone the “problem” was solved and the team would appear with Nasr and Ericsson on the grid.
During the 2015 season it became clear how big the financial problems were for the team, the lack of management and structure within the team didn’t help either. Monisha Kalterborn was kicked out and Longbow Finance S.A. bought all the shares from Peter Sauber and Monisha Kalterborn and made them the owners of the Sauber F1 Team. The future looked bright for the team.
The future seems to become brighter in 2018. Last year the collaboration between Alfa Romeo and Sauber became a fact. Recently Simone Resta came over from Ferrari to take over the place of Technical Director from Jorg Zander who left the team recently. The rumours also say that a new investment company bought the team.
This is feeding the rumours that Sauber F1 Team could disappear from the grid as F1 team. It has been rumoured many times that Alfa Romeo was planning to make its comeback. It would not surprise me if this were the near future for the team. To be continued!