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F1: 3 reasons for Sauber's turnaround in 2018

rehaan díaz
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
432   //    21 Dec 2018, 19:32 IST

Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 car at the German GP 2018 at Hockenheim
Alfa Romeo Sauber F1 car at the German GP 2018 at Hockenheim

One can be really critical of Sauber and say that they should have, given the circumstances they should have finished higher up the Formula 1 Constructors standings in 2018. Williams had a shambolic year and Toro Rosso was in the midst of being the guinea pig for Red Bull and Honda project of 2019 and beyond. They should be at least leaping McLaren who has stopped developing their car after the Spanish Grand Prix after finding out a fundamental gremlin that wasn’t in earlier wind tunnel tests. Finishing behind the Woking side (62 points) after having a Ferrari engine shouldn’t really pass the muster.

Additionally, they were outscored by Force India after coming out of administration, which is again demonstrating that they are just about in the midfield. If Haas with the same Ferrari engine can finish fifth, so should Sauber.

However, Sauber still did a stellar job to as compared to last year. The Swiss constructor broke even this year - with budget and income of $135 million each. With 48 points in their pouch, they were spending $2.8 million for every point, which in comparison to the grid is a good bang-for-buck figure. It is not to be forgotten that they finished 2017 dead last, with a wooden spoon and a terrible car. So how did Sauber claw back to the midfield? Here are 3 main reasons for it.


#3 Team Principal

Frédéric Vasseur in a happy mood with Marcus Ericsson, Sauber's driver from 2015
Frédéric Vasseur in a happy mood with Marcus Ericsson, Sauber's driver from 2015

Swiss-based investment firm Longbow Finance bought both Peter Sauber and Monisha Kaltenborn's shares in the company and were eased out. Longbow came in with fresh funds and a team principal. In late June 2017, it was confirmed from Sauber that the first ever female F1 boss – Monisha Kaltenborn would be stepping down from the team.

The team were struggling at the back end of the grid for too long and the split was mutual. She was replaced by former Renault team principal Frédéric Vasseur, who, in his first full season managed to marshall a remarkable upswing in performance.

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