Frederic Vasseur

Vasseur: I’ve got a large budget to revamp the team

Frederic Vasseur

According to Sauber’s newly appointed team chief Frederic Vasseur, he has the long term backing of the team’s new owners – Longbow Finance – to turn the Swiss them into a regular points scoring outfit, while continuing their reputation as a young driver friendly team.

Vasseur told L’Equipe, “I’ve got the means to revamp the team and put it back in the points on a regular basis. It’s exciting.”

“Longbow is investing a large budget in the project. They’ve got a precise plan over several years. I have free rein to run this project. The team is motivated and has often proved its skills in the past.”

The question regarding the switch to Honda engines (orchestrated by ousted former team chief Monisha Kaltenborn) or tearing up the contract with the Japanese engine supplier is high on the Frenchman’s agenda.

He could also decide to renew a deal to keep the team with Ferrari power or pursuing a customer engine supply with Mercedes. He is also known to have close ties with Renault.

Vasseur acknowledged, “The Honda question is on the table. It’s the first one I’m going to work on. We need to take care of this quickly. In light of what I hear from McLaren, it can be scary.”

The new Sauber owners are closely linked to the team’s current driver Marcus Ericsson, but Vasseur insists that the two are separate issues, “You can’t link the project of a team to a driver. It’s not healthy.”

“If Marcus wants to have a career, which I do not doubt, and wants to win races quickly, he’ll probably have other ambitions than Sauber.”

“The team might want other drivers, too. For now, there are two converging projects that make sense and allow us to run together. Nobody feels tied. I’ll make the final decision on the drivers. Sauber’s goal is to bet on the future with young drivers,” added Vasseur.

This year Ericsson is partnered by Mercedes backed Pascal Wehrlein who has scored all of Sauber’s five points. The team lie ninth in the Formula 1 constructors’ championship standings ahead of Honda powered McLaren.

Sauber were instrumental in the launching the Formula 1 careers of the likes of Kimi Raikkonen, Felipe Massa and Sergio Perez.

Big Question: Is Vasseur the right man for the Sauber job??