CHANGE AT THE TOP
Farewell, then, Monisha Kaltenborn, a Sauber stalwart for almost 20 years, as senior house lawyer, CEO and, since 2012, team principal. She made her mark as the sport’s rst female team boss and for that achievement alone deserves great credit, since the F1 paddock remains a bear pit fuelled more by testosterone than common sense.
She and Sauber parted ways in the week before the Azerbaijan GP, her exit the result of the team’s ongoing poor performance and bitter in-ghting at Hinwil HQ. Sauber last looked good in 2012, when Sergio Pérez took three podiums and Kamui Kobayashi a memorable home third at Suzuka. Since then there’s been a steady slide down the constructors’ table, in tandem with a strained cashow that nearly sank the team last year.
Matters came to a head, F1 Racing understands, over an internal dispute relating to alleged technical favouritism being shown towards Marcus Ericsson. This led to an unexpected 21 June press release from the team, quoting chairman Pascal Picci: “The owners and board of Sauber Motorsport AG take strong exception to speculative and widespread media reports today that our race drivers have not been, and are not being, treated equally. This is not only patently untrue, it would be contrary to the team’s absolute and longstanding commitment to fair competition.”
No mention was made of Kaltenborn until, a day later, news of her departure “by mutual consent” was announced, citing “diverging views of the future of the company.”
Kaltenborn has endured two tough years since Sauber lost a contractual dispute with Giedo van der Garde over his promised 2015 race drive. How ironic that she won’t be part of the team’s future, having just secured it by signing a multi-year engine deal with Honda.
SAUBER LAST LOOKED GOOD IN 2012, WHEN SERGIO PÉREZ TOOK THREE PODIUMS AND KAMUI KOBAYASHI A MEMORABLE HOME THIRD AT SUZUKA. SINCE THEN THERE’S BEEN A STEADY SLIDE DOWN THE CONSTRUCTORS’ TABLE, IN TANDEM WITH STRAINED CASHFLOW
Former team lawyer and CEO Monisha Kaltenborn succeeded Peter Sauber as team principal in 2012