Kaltenborn: A totally new era at Sauber


Sauber’s financial woes early on in 2016 crippled the team and nearly caused it to fold, but timely investment by Longbow Finance who acquired the Sauber Group injected new life into the team who now plan to return to the Formula 1 midfield.

Team principal Monisha Kaltenborn told GP Update, “The investors coming in has marked the beginning of a totally new era at Sauber. It’s not only that the founder of the team is no longer a shareholder, the first time it’s happened, you feel that a totally new chapter has opened.”


“We have stability, we have sufficient backing, we are able to again work the way we want to, to make the step ahead, which allowed us to return to doing development – we could implement the development we had for a long time, ready in our drawer, to be opened and taken out.”

“You feel it in the team, you feel it in the motivation. You could also see how we approached the races, the strategies we took, with new people coming in – it’s made a big difference.”

Kaltenborn has always been a strong advocate of smaller teams, like Sauber, having a larger slice of the F1 pie and also a bigger say in the running of the sport.

She explained, ” I think private teams are the backbone of the sport. If you look at it, manufacturers come and go, we all know that, and we’ve experienced that too.”

“It’s a matter of time when they come, and a matter of time when they leave, when they either have achieved their targets or have not achieved their targets, because being number two for a manufacturer – like it was with BMW – is no option, it’s not good enough, you have to be right on top.”

“If you see, for us, this is our core business. It’s not an expensive marketing platform, where you like to show your technology. This is what we do, so that’s why we’re always here, no matter what the sport goes through.”

“When manufacturers go, whatever state the sport is left in, we are still here, and we still somehow cope with the challenges. I think that should be highlighted a bit more. That is one issue, but the other for a team like ours… going towards the privileges certain teams have, which we consider as distorting the competition.”

Looking ahead the Sauber team chief is upbeat, “First of all that we are not just limited or reduced, to these two bad years that we’ve had. Looking at our entire history, 45 years in motorsport, and excluding 2014 and 2016, people shouldn’t reduce the team to that.”

“We are a Swiss team, a European team, that’s how we see ourselves. We are a strong engineering company, because it’s not just Formula 1, it’s also an engineering business, where we deliver high-end services.”

“It’s going to be important to show that we have the stability again, that we’re growing and that we’re a unique technology centre,” added Kaltenborn.