Tag Archives: Peter Sauber

Perez and Kobayashi to remain at Sauber for 2012

Both Perez and Kobayashi have impressed this year

Both Perez and Kobayashi have impressed this year

Sauber have retained both rookie Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi for the 2012 season.

Perez has had a difficult season so far, missing out on several races after his crash in Hungary. However, he has performed very well in the races, with the best tyre conservation record on the grid.

Kobayashi will start his 3rd season with Sauber next year, the team that rescued his career after the collapse of Toyota. Kamui is well known for his spectacular offensive overtaking moves.

Team principal Peter Sauber has stated:

"We are very pleased with our drivers.

Kamui has grown into his role extremely well this year. Though it is only his second 
full Formula One season, he is already taking on the responsibilities that naturally 
fall to the more experienced driver in the team.

We are delighted with him at both a sporting and a personal level. We had an option 
of working with him in 2012 and there was never any doubt that we would take it.

Sergio has achieved more than one could expect from a rookie. From the very first 
race he proved that he is capable of driving not only fast but consistently as well.

And after the accident in Monaco he demonstrated that he can handle difficult 
situations too. From the outset we had already signed a contract with Sergio that 
went beyond 2011. With a rookie that always entails a certain risk, of course, but 
clearly it has paid off."

Chinese GP Friday press conference

Peter Sauber, Colin Kolles, Eric Boullier and Adam Parr at the Friday Chinese GP press conference

Peter Sauber, Colin Kolles, Eric Boullier and Adam Parr at the Friday Chinese GP press conference

Today we had team principals Colin Kolles, Adam Parr, Eric Boullier, and Peter Sauber. Here is the full transcript:

Q: Colin, tell us about your driver pairing, completely inexperienced when it comes to this race here in Shanghai?
Colin Kolles:
Well, we are a new team, new cars and rookie drivers, so it’s not easy, for sure, but I think they’ve done quite a good job in the first three races, not making too many mistakes. Today also went quite well, at a different level to the top teams, of course, but I think that we are improving steadily, so we are making step after step.

Q: How easy or difficult has it been to build up a team, especially one that was really starting on the back foot?
CK:
Not easy, it was a lot of work, I can tell you, in a very short period of time. I think people are underestimating what has been done or how difficult it is.

Q: In terms of getting your personnel, for instance, you’re not really based in the middle of Oxfordshire in England, in among existing racing teams.
CK:
Yes, for sure, Murcia is not really the centre but obviously I was able to put it together. I think I have quite a good network and it was possible with the help of people who were loyal to me over a long period of time.

Q: Can you just clarify the rumours of the relationship between the team and Dallara?
CK:
I can clarify this. Obviously I have spoken with the people involved and I think they have been misquoted and misunderstood, so actually there is nothing more to say about this.

Q: Peter, a very difficult start to the season for you. I’m sure you didn’t come back into Formula One for a start to the season like the one you’ve experienced. Tell us what has happened?
Peter Sauber:
It’s not so easy to explain, maybe you have to ask the technicians. We expected more, especially after the good winter tests.

Q: What were the basic problems, at the last race, for instance? Are those engines finished for the year or was the sensor the problem?
PS:
It was a pressure sensor and we can’t use the engines again.

Q: And then at the first race you had problems as well.
PS:
In Bahrain, there were two hydraulic problems. One was a mistake – I think both failures were not necessary.

Q: And again, your drivers, an interesting mix of the experienced and the newcomer. Tell us how you feel about those two?
PS:
It’s very difficult to talk a lot about the drivers because during the last three races we have had a lot of problems, and it has been impossible for Kamui (Kobayashi) and Pedro (de la Rosa) to show their talents.

Q: So you’re really waiting for the season to settle down.
PS:
Yes, it’s necessary.

Q: Have you had a good trouble-free weekend this weekend?
PS:
I hope so.

Q: Tell us also about the transition of Willy Rampf, who has been with the team for such a long time as such a faithful servant, to James Key, your new technical director?
PS:
I think Willy’s plan to leave the team was for more than one year.

Q: What have been his great strengths?
PS:
Oh, he has a lot, a lot of strengths. He started with us 14 years ago as a track engineer and then has grown up slowly and we had a lot of success with Willy, especially in the 2001 season with Nick (Heidfeld) and with Kimi (Raikkonen), when we finished fourth in the World Championship.

Q: How easy is it going to be for James to take over?
PS:
I think it’s too early to speak about that, especially in this difficult period. For sure it’s not easy for him to take over the team now and to make progress very soon.

Q: Will Willy keep coming to races? When does he actually clear his desk and leave?
PS:
The last race under Willy’s control was in Malaysia, in Sepang, and this one is the first race for James. Willy leaves at the end of the month.

Q: Eric, again, a question for you about your drivers: the experienced Robert Kubica and the newcomer Vitaly Petrov.
Eric Bouiller:
I think we have a good pair of drivers, one experienced one and one rookie but both very, very motivated.

Q: How do you see them working together over the last three races?
EB:
Both of them are very eager to do well and they are working well together. They have to learn about each other, but Robert is very keen to give any advice to Vitaly. They’re working very well.

Q: What about your own experience as a new team principal; is it a very steep learning curve?
EB:
Yes, very, very, very with a big slope. It’s very exciting and I’m very, very pleased to be here. It’s definitely a challenge, because F1 is huge, a lot of requests, a lot of people, but I’m starting to fit in well.

Q: Any big surprises?
EB:
Everything is a surprise, because it’s new. You have so many people, so many responsibilities, it’s just seven days work (a week). But I’m definitely ready for it.

Q: You have Peter Sauber behind you, Adam Parr alongside you, both their teams would like to be fifth in the championship this year. What are your aims, because I think you would also like to be fifth, if not fourth?
EB:
No, my aim is to be better than fifth. Obviously we would like to be as high as possible in the hierarchy. We have to be reasonable, so fifth would be the minimum.

Q: Do you see Williams and Sauber as being your major rivals?
EB:
Some of them are our main rivals.

Q: Adam, your feelings about fifth in the championship?
Adam Parr:
Well, I think we’ve got a bit of work to do to even claim that but we have ambitions, like Eric, beyond fifth as well.

Q: What about the Cosworth partnership; do they feel like a new engine supplier? How does it feel like to work with them?
AP:
They are a new engine supplier and the relationship feels very good, I think, in the sense that we have a very similar philosophy about life and what we’re trying to achieve. Unfortunately, it’s always the case that when you change engine (supplier), it’s a challenge. We’ve definitely got challenges on all aspects of the car that we need to overcome and that includes the engines, so we’re working with them very closely on that, and I’m very pleased to say that from Kevin Kalkhoven (Cosworth owner) down we’ve got the complete support of Cosworth and they are passionate about what they do and they are very good engineers, so we’re expecting to make good progress on that front.

Q: In terms of what they’ve supplied, you would say that they are not a new engine supplier at all. It seems to have been very reliable.
AP:
Well, it’s been reliable in some respects but we do have some underlying issues that we have to address. We’re not there yet. As Patrick (Head) likes to remind me on an hourly basis, anybody who thinks that they’ve got the engine or any other aspect of a Formula One car sorted out is just kidding themselves. We’re very early in this programme and there’s a lot of work to be done.

Q: Similarly you have an interesting mix of drivers, the most experienced driver in Formula One and Nico Hulkenberg as well. You’ve also been nurturing Nico for many years.
AP:
Yes, well, one of the great highlights of this season for us has been our two drivers. It’s a real pleasure to work with both of them for very different reasons. Rubens (Barrichello) is a fantastic driver; one hoped and expected that his technical input would be phenomenal but not only his understanding of what’s going on is amazing, but also his ability to identify potential solutions. So having him is wonderful. Also you can just see the way that he can dig deep and find that extra few tenths in qualifying. He’s leading the way, as one would have hoped. Nico is a very pleasant surprise, particularly in Malaysia where he showed what he could do and in the rain which is not always the case. Nico’s a very special guy, not only is he a great young racing driver, but as you may know, he volunteered to work in the factory, he’s worked in almost every area of our factory alongside the guys on the shop floor. He’s got their complete respect and that shows through in everything he does, so we’re very happy and very proud to have both of those drivers.

Q: And when did your relationship start with him?
AP:
With Nico? It’s been about three years now. Of course, the best thing about working with Nico Hulkenberg is that he brings with him (his manager) Willy Weber who is just fantastically amusing at all times.

QUESTIONS FROM THE FLOOR

Q: (Jie Wu – Autonews China) I have a question for Mr Sauber. The Sauber team became a private team again when you took it over. What’s the difference in atmosphere and Formula One environment between when BMW took over the team and now? What has changed?
PS:
I think the atmosphere was good as a works team as well as a private team. I think the atmosphere was also very good with BMW, there is no difference. For sure, the team is now much smaller, it’s about a third smaller than before with 260 employees. For sure it’s more a family than a big company.

Q: (Jie Wu – Autonews China)There have been lots of manufacturer teams in F1; what’s the difficulty for private teams to survive and fight for their dreams in F1?
PS:
Some of those factory teams have left Formula One. I think about three of the big ones and I think that today we have a good combination between big teams and private teams. It’s the same question (of survival) for Williams and Hispania. It was a big question for Williams over the last forty years. It’s very difficult. When we look back to the last 20 years, more than 25 teams have left Formula One. It’s difficult, yes.
CK: I think Adam knows that it’s an even bigger amount.
AP: Well, the number is over 50 teams since 1970, I think, have failed to survive in Formula One. There are two things: one is yes, it’s difficult, and it’s always difficult because you’re raising… the discretionary part of your income is from sponsorship, and sponsorship is something that people can chose to do or chose not to do, and I think that even though Formula One offers incredible value for sponsors, it’s always a big decision for a company to come into Formula One. Having said that, I think that things are better and I think they are going to get better because having only two manufacturers left in Formula One means that the majority of the teams are very realistic about having to raise a budget and they don’t want to burn money, and even the manufacturer teams who are left don’t want to burn money either. So I think that within this so-called resource restriction agreement, we have a structure to continue to reduce costs for everybody and I think there’s a real will to do that. Although it’s tough, I think it’s promising and it’s certainly better… when I started, you could argue that ten out of eleven teams were effectively factory-funded teams or shareholder-funded teams. So it’s a lot better now.

Q: (Joe Saward – Grand Prix Special) Regarding the tyre supply next year, it seems like there’s a choice between having a big brand or cheap tyres. Which would you like to have?
CK:
Tyres for free.
PS: Yeah, for sure, tyres for free, it’s possible but I think more importantly is that we have only one tyre supplier.
EB: First we need to have tyres, if possible for free and it doesn’t matter if it’s a big brand or not, there’s obviously a safety issue as well, to have proper tyres. Then, as part of the show, we need to decide if it’s only one tyre spec or not. But we need tyres.
AP: I think there are at least half a dozen companies in the world who could provide us with good quality tyres, that would give a good show and be perfectly safe. I think they are all good companies with good brand names and I think it’s absolutely essential that we do a good deal, which means free tyre supply for the teams. Secondly, it must be the same for everybody in all aspects because if it’s a standard tyre, it’s simply not on to have a two tier or a different approach for one team rather than another. So I think we’ve got a bit of work to do there. Fortunately, we have Bernie (Ecclestone) who has been asked by the F1 Commission to negotiate and find that supply and nobody’s better equipped to do it than him, so I’m sure we will get what we need.

Q: (Joe Saward – Grand Prix Special) Can I follow up with a question about engines? We’re talking about having two manufacturers. In fact we have two manufacturers who have just gone into a very large industrial alliance together, which, logically speaking, when it comes to creating new engines for 2013, are not going to both spend the same kind of money to compete against one another. Do you see a situation whereby we only have Ferrari and small, specialist manufacturers, the Cosworths of this world, in the future?
PS:
Yes, we will drive with Ferrari engines. It’s not a problem for us.
CK: And we drive Cosworth.
PS: But I think the manufacturers that we have now will stay in Formula One. Maybe we will have some new manufacturers like Volkswagen.
CK: Maybe we will have some new manufacturers, yes, that’s possible, but at the moment we are an independent with Cosworth, so we hope that Cosworth will still be on the market and for the moment we are happy with Cosworth and we look forward to having a good relationship. What will happen after 2013? I think it’s very important to maybe have the world engine, this is very important for certain manufacturers, to get them the entry, so from my point of view we will support the world engine, if we were asked, and I think that Mr Sauber would support this and I think that a few others would support the same. For sure, on the other hand, there are certain people who are against the world engine and they have their own ideas, but as it looks at the moment, the world engine might be a solution, to attract new manufacturers.
AP: I agree with both those comments. We’ve got four engines in Formula One at the moment and I don’t think that’s going to change before 2013 and I think it’s very likely that from 2013 there are going to be more suppliers rather than fewer and that’s because we’re going to have an engine in 2013 that’s going to have better energy consumption, a greener engine and I’m sure it will also be cheaper to manufacture and I think that will attract other companies into the sport. I think that’s another positive thing on the horizon, because we need to change the structure a little bit. We have too few suppliers and the engines cost too much, just too much to make. The technology is getting a bit out of date now as well.
EB: I agree with all the comments, obviously. I would add that engine technology needs to be back for an engine manufacturer like Renault as we are definitely interested in using Formula One as well as a technology platform to be used for road cars. I think cost needs to be controlled as there is a new technical package to be brought in after 2013. I don’t think we will see just one new engine maker. I think there will be, as Colin said, more engine manufacturers interested in maybe coming into Formula One, and that’s good.

Q: (Joe Saward – Grand Prix Special) And just to follow up on the point that Adam made, do you think that KERS and/or any other energy recovery system is essential for the future?
EB:
Formula One needs to be a little bit greener, and as Adam said, with a greener engine, KERS or any hybrid system needs to be back in, because it’s the future on our roads. So Formula One needs to stick to this philosophy as well. We have already developed something in the past which I think we’re all discussing to maybe put it back next year under certain conditions, but it definitely needs to be part of the package.
AP: Absolutely, we think a big KERS is going to be a very important part of the 2013 engine.
CK: Well, I don’t fully agree with this point. I was always against KERS and I am still against KERS. I agree that we have to be a greener Formula One, that’s fine but if you look at KERS – if it’s really green – and you look into the details, then KERS is not really green. So I think that we should look into reality and be realistic and not dreamers. This is my simple point of view. There are certain interests here, obviously from car manufacturers. I agree with this, I have no problem with this, but we, as a small team, are not going to afford to invest such amounts of money into technology, so we are definitely happy to find solutions and I fully agree that Formula One has to become greener to attract sponsorship, to make it more viable for everybody, basically, to make the business more viable, but I don’t think that KERS in the common sense is the best solution. I would agree with the Williams solution which is obviously a different solution than the battery solution. This is a more reasonable solution, but as we are discussing at the moment, to use a KERS based on batteries, people would be surprised which is more environmentally friendly or not if you look at the detail.
PS: Green or not green, I think Formula One has to follow this direction, especially the manufacturers. Maybe we can wait until the engine changes in 2013, together with maybe a world engine, I think it will be easier for everybody.

De la Rosa joins BMW Sauber

Pedro de la Rosa testing for McLaren in 2009

Pedro de la Rosa testing for McLaren in 2009

BMW Sauber have announced that Pedro de la Rosa will race for the team this year, alongside Kamui Kobayashi.

The 38-year-old has been the McLaren test driver since 2003. He has competed in 71 Grands Prix since 1999.  He started his F1 career with a point in Melbourne with Arrows. He spent 2 years with them, until he moved to Jaguar in 2001. After 2 years there, he became the McLaren test driver. His last Grand Prix was at Interlagos 2006, when he was substituting for Juan Pablo Montoya.

It is believed that De la Rosa was signed so as to bring experience to the team and his team-mate, Kamui Kobayashi, who has only raced in 2 Grands Prix so far.

Also, it appears that he has backing from Universia, which is a network of 11,000 universities in 15 countries. This orginisation is itself heavily supported by the bank Santander, who have a sponsorship deal regarding fellow Spaniard Fernando Alonso.

“Pedro has spent many years working for a top team at the highest technical level,” said team principal Peter Sauber. “We as a team stand to gain from his experience, and the same goes for young Kamui. The combination of a seasoned racer and an up-and-coming young driver has repeatedly proved a very fruitful one.”

“I don’t expect either of them to disappoint in 2010. Of course it is also crucial that we provide them with a decent car; I feel positive about our in-house progress on that front too. We were able to continue work on our 2010 car as scheduled throughout the recent period of uncertainty.”

De la Rosa said: “I always firmly believed I would be given another chance as a team driver. Since the number of test drives were radically reduced, this was what I was working towards. I’m really excited about the season with Peter Sauber’s team, which has been a solid fixture in Formula One ever since 1993.”

I’m looking forward to seeing Pedro back, as he certainly deserves a good drive after many faithful years of testing. The fact that he got the fastest lap in Brazil 2006 (only raced 8 races that season, and not since) proves that he has lost little of his expertise.

However, I am now much more concerned about Nick Heidfeld. The German is now left with very few drives available: Renault, Campos or USF1. I would be very surprised if he didn’t get a seat for 2010, as his experience and dependability are surely valuable for many teams.

Reorganised BMW Sauber positions announced

BMW Sauber F1 Team

BMW Sauber F1 Team

The reorganisation of  the BMW Sauber F1 team has been announced, with Peter Sauber taking the role of President. However, he will not have a role at the team’s Hinwil base in Germany.

His son, Alex, is now in charge of the marketing department.

Willy Rampf remains as the team ‘s technical director, which he has occupied since the BMW takeover years ago. The positions announced are:

Peter Sauber – President of the Board of Directors
Monisha Kaltenborn – Managing Director
Alex Sauber – Marketing
Willy Rampf – Technical Director
Urs Jampen – Finance Director
Jürg Flach – Director of Operations (production)

Kobayashi confirmed at Sauber for 2010

Kamui Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi

Kamui Kobayashi has been confirmed at the Sauber team for 2010.

Kobayashi made his F1 debut at the Brazilian Grand Prix this year, substituting for Timo Glock. He put in two excellent drives in Brazil and Abu Dhabi, which was enough to convince Sauber to give him a try.

He said: “Ever since the start of my career I have dreamed of racing in Formula One. Now this dream has come true. I am very happy that my two races in 2009 have earned me a cockpit place. I will do my very best for Peter Sauber’s team and I am proud to be able to carry on flying the Japanese flag in Formula One.”

Peter Sauber said:  “I’m very much looking forward to working together with Kamui. In the final two Grand Prix of last season he was granted an unexpected chance to show his skills, and he made impressive use of it. Particularly in the Abu Dhabi race he demonstrated not only that he can drive fast and aggressively, but also his ability to successfully implement a strategy. I am convinced he has a great deal of potential and will be able to make the most of it in our team.”

Sauber secures 13th 2010 F1 slot

Peter SauberThe FIA has announced that Sauber has been granted an entry into the 2010 F1 season, which ends months of speculation about the team.

The original plan, to sell the BMW team to Qadbak, proved problematic, when doubts began to spread regarding the investors behind Qadbak. However, Toyota’s departure meant that there was a grid spot available for Sauber.

The statement from the FIA is as follows:

“The FIA has written to inform BMW Sauber AG that their application for an entry in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship has been successful.  Subject to their signing the Concorde Agreement, BMW Sauber will be awarded the 13th entry in the Championship, taking the place of the departing Toyota team.

The FIA has worked closely with the Commercial Rights Holder and the teams involved over recent weeks and is grateful for their support in achieving the best outcome for the sport.

An updated Formula One entry list will be published in due course.”

Interview with Peter Sauber

Peter Sauber

On Friday, it was announced that Peter Sauber was to buy his F1 team back off BMW. Following their departure, Sauber is now back in control, to many peoples’ surprise. Here, in an interview with formula1.com, he talks about the new Ferrari powered C29:

Q: Peter, what does the agreement with BMW really mean? Is it true to say that both parties wouldn’t have reached an agreement if there hadn’t been strong signals that the team had a slot on the 2010 grid…
Peter Sauber:
This agreement means that the future of the team and the location in Hinwil are secured. I am very relieved about that development. It would have been a crying shame had one of the best Formula One factories closed down. Regarding the slot on the grid I am very confident that we will be given a final confirmation very shortly.

Q: Do you expect the confirmation to come during next month’s FIA meeting in Monaco?
PS:
I am pretty confident that there will be a decision before that date.

Q: Did you feel obligated to keep the team alive?
PS:
I was strongly focused on that topic before I made the decision to acquire the team. Now the responsibility rests solely on my shoulders, but be sure that I will do everything in my power to secure a positive future for the team.

Q: How have you got the finances in place? Will Qadbak, the investment group that had planned the original deal with BMW, get involved now? Or do you envisage something similar to what happened between Honda and Brawn last year?
PS:
I have obtained the financial resources for the acquisition by myself. No other backers are involved.

Q: There was always an air of mystery surrounding Qadbak, with some suggesting the name was a composition of the initials of Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Bahrain. Can you shed a bit more light on it now?
PS:
I have not made any comments on Qadbak in the last two months and I want to keep it that way.

Q: You faced a difficult task to reduce the number of staff by around 130 to reach the agreed headcount of 250. The Hinwil workforce was a perfectly functioning unit. How have you tried to avoid slumps in quality?
PS:
That was indeed a very painful procedure. In my 40-year career as an entrepreneur I have never before had to lay off staff on financial grounds. All departments were equally affected by the cutbacks and there is a hope that no quality issues will arise. Regarding performance, we will try to compensate for the lower headcount through efficiency.

Q: You could benefit from Toyota’s withdrawal. Without it, would you have to have waited for one of the new entrants to falter?
PS:
The FIA had already promised us the 14th slot on the grid. Under that circumstance it would have been our obligation to persuade the one team that had voted against us to accept our entry.

Q: From your position as a minority stakeholder you have been propelled back into the team principal’s role…
PS:
It was truly never my desire to return to the pit wall. But once I decide for myself to get involved with something, then I am fully committed and do it with all my passion.

Q: It seems as though the development of the 2010 car has not been affected by BMW’s withdrawal. What is the state of affairs?
PS:
Our 2010 car is perfectly on schedule. The development and fabrication have been unaffected by the situation. Having been able to proceed with uninterrupted development was also possible thanks to excellent cooperation with Ferrari, who submitted all the relevant data very early. Regarding the performance of the C29 we are all very confident. Two months before the first tests, we have already reached a very good basis for further development.

Q: So after four years of racing a BMW engine, you’re back using a Ferrari engine…
PS:
That was one of the fixtures very early on. Shortly after BMW announced its withdrawal at the end of July I talked to (Ferrari chairman) Luca di Montezemolo and in a very short time – and without any bureaucracy – we received an okay. We will use a Ferrari engine and drive train.

Q: How about the driver line-up? Is the market for good drivers already swept clean?
PS:
No, definitely not. And we have two very attractive cockpits to offer.

Q: How is your schedule looking for the coming weeks?
PS:
On my personal list there are two priorities – the slot on the grid and the Concorde Agreement. Then I will look for drivers. My guess is that a lot of time will be consumed by the restructuring from 380 employees to 250.

BMW to sell F1 team back to Sauber

Peter Sauber

BMW have announced on friday that they have reached an agreement with Peter Sauber regarding the sale of the BMW Sauber F1 team. However, the sale is subject to the team being granted a slot for the 2010 season. This means that the planned sale to Qadbak Investment Ltd. will not be completed.

As part of the agreement, personnel will be cut from 388 to 250 employees. Also, because of the restructuring of the team, further redundancies cannot be ruled out in the future.

BMW had previously bought the team from Sauber in 2005, who had founded the team in 1993.

“I am very relieved that we have found this solution,” said Peter Sauber. “It means we can keep the Hinwil location and the majority of workplaces. I am convinced that the new team has a very good future in Formula One, whose current transformation with new framework conditions will benefit the private teams. Our staff here are highly competent and motivated, and I look forward to taking on this new challenge together with them. I would like to thank BMW for four shared years that have in the main been very successful.”

Dr Klaus Draeger, member of the board of management of BMW AG with responsibility for development, added: “We are very happy with this solution. This fulfils the most important requirement for a successful future for the team. Our relationship with Peter Sauber has always been excellent and marked by absolute respect. We would like to express our thanks to Peter Sauber and the whole team for the excellent cooperation during the recent four years.”

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