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Sauber F1 Team

Formula 1 team

Sauber F1 Team
Credit: Sauber
Team information
F1 debutSouth African Grand Prix, 1993
Season line-up
Race driverMarcus Ericsson
Race driverPascal Wehrlein
Reserve driverCharles Leclerc
Key members of staff
Team principalFrederic Vasseur
Head of performance integrationPaul Russell
Head of trackside engineeringXevi Pujolar
Senior strategy engineerRuth Buscombe
Team managerBeat Zehnder
Technical directorJörg Zander

Peter Sauber launched his eponymous team in during the 1990s, and they have endured several financial scares along the way. During a brief stint as a BMW works team, they secured victory, but have yet to do so under their own entry. Sauber stepped back from the controls, handing the team principal role to Monisha Kaltenborn, who continues to push the team towards better results.

F1 history

The Sauber F1 team came to life in the 1990s, after founder Peter Sauber teamed up with Mercedes on various projects, including Le Mans and other sports car racing. The first Sauber F1 car debuted in 1993, with a few points finishes scattered amongst many retirements. Through partnerships with Ford and then Ferrari, the team gradually made progress up the pecking order.

When Ferrari drifted away from the Sauber team, they looked for a replacement engine supplier in BMW. What they found was a new owner, as the German manufacturer took ownership of the team for the 2006 season onwards. They were renamed BMW Sauber, and although Peter Sauber retained a stake in the outfit, he took a step back in running the team.

It was while they were owned by BMW that the team secured their one and only victory so far, but BMW still weren’t happy with the results. They had a specific step-by-step plan to success and F1 wasn’t delivering. They withdrew from Formula One at the end of 2009, leaving Peter Sauber to step in and retake full ownership of the team.

Dropping the BMW from their name, the Sauber F1 team returned to Ferrari for a renewed engine deal, and some hard graft later saw results finally starting to appear. A second place finish in Malaysia 2012 saw their first podium since 2009, and they followed it up with three more. On the strength of their success, Nico Hülkenberg moved across from midfield rivals Force India for 2013, however it was a disappointing year. At the end of the season, he moved straight back again.

Meanwhile, Peter Sauber had once again taken a step back from the day to day running of the team, selling a 44% stake in the business to CEO Monisha Kaltenborn and promoting her to team principal. Monisha continued to manage the team as they headed into the 2014 season, with less financial pressure on their shoulders and the desire to get back on the podium. It was not to be, however, and a disappointing season followed. An overhaul of the driver line-up was put in place for 2015, with both Sutil and Gutiérrez ousted in favour of new driver Felipe Nasr and ex-Caterham pilot Marcus Ericsson.

It was a dire start to the year for Sauber. The results weren't forthcoming, the car was underperforming, and there were financial problems back at the factory. However, in July, a new investor was found and the team was sold to Longbow Finance. Monisha Kaltenborn remained as team principal, and with funding finally found, things started to look a bit more positive for the Swiss squad. Their season came to a happy conclusion when they picked up their one and only top ten finish in Brazil, finishing ninth to take home two points for the year. It moved them into tenth place in the championship, which in turn brings them more of a funding boost.

For the 2017 season, Felipe Nasr departed the team, leaving a seat open for Pascal Wehrlein who was saved from the failing Manor team.

Learn more about Sauber with the Pocket F1 Handbook.