Constructors’ titles: 0
Drivers’ titles: 0
Based: Hinwil, Switzerland
2012 position: 6th
Team Principal: Morisha Kaltenborn
Chief Designer: Matt Morris
Drivers: Nico Hulkenberg, Esteban Gutierrez
There’s something refreshingly anti-establishment about this Sauber team. Progressive enough to have a woman as team principal and put together as they are with such a modest budget, the output is quite literally greater than the sum of the team’s parts.
Not that Monisha’s appointment had anything to do with positive discrimination or sentimentalism. She’s proven herself to be one of the smartest, and most competitive brains in the business.
Her almost robotic declaration that the job of her mechanics this year has been to “build on strengths… and eliminate weaknesses” in their C32 racer could leave even the most macho of F1 chiefs cowering. Heaven help those engineers should they fall short of her expectations.
Formed in 1993 before being taken over and relinquished by BMW in the space of four years, last season was something of a breakthrough for the Swiss underdogs. The team finished in a very creditable sixth position in the constructors’ championship, having landed three podium finishes throughout the year.
Since then last year’s drivers have both departed, with Kemui Kobayashi released and Sergio Perez lost, most damagingly, to McLaren.
That leaves them with two new drivers; the talented Niko Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez. They’ll need to get up to speed – and fast – with the gentle evolution of the car that’s taken place between seasons.
Hulkenberg will be the team’s main hope for breaking new ground in 2013 and he has every chance of recording his side’s first ever race win.
That will be charismatic team owner Peter Sauber’s hope and expectation and, as a keen stogey smoker, at least if they only come so close there will still be plenty of cigars to be pensively puffed in defeat.
Did you know?
Born in India but now native Austrian, Monisha Kaltenborn is the first ever female team principal in the history of F1 – it seems even motor racing is catching up with the rest of the world on gender equalities!
Hulkenberg’s website hosts a series of comic strips featuring a handsome, blond racing driver with big feet… who just happens to drive for Sauber.