Can I be honest with you? For several years now I’ve been wondering what is happening at Sauber. The once great privateer punched above its weight, brought many of F1’s biggest drivers into the sport (Massa, Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Vettel, Kubica) and eventually teamed with BMW to make a very legitimate attempt at moving to the top of the grid.
BMW vacated the sport like a dog with tail tucked firmly between its legs and this left the team adrift with only narrow chance of survival from Peter Sauber himself. Peter did dive back in to save the team but brought in Monisha Kaltenborn to run the operation.
As an attorney, I reckoned Monisha had turned her law-talking job at Sauber into a passion for racing but as time went on, I found many of the moves head-scratchingly perplexing. Sponsor deals, hiring three drivers for two seats, legal issues and finally selling a majority to Lonbow capital investment group as a venture capital project. This is SAUBER for crying out loud! Not HRT.
Anyway, Autosport says Monisha is out at Sauber and I’ve been dog-whistling that for several years now saying on our podcasts that in football, you don’t fire the whole team, you fire the coach. Long-championed as a woman in motorsport and leader, I found her leadership questionable and far south of the likes of Claire Williams or Lena Gade. Once again supporting the idea that meritocracy rules in Formula 1 success and not gender. Claire has done a terrific job at Williams and Lena Gade was fabulous at Audi. So has Christian Horner, Toto Wolff, and Maurizio Arrivebene.
Like Monisha, many other team bosses have been released such as Stefano Domenicali and Martin Whitmarsh. It is results that matter and Monisha hasn’t been getting them recently. Nothing more, nothing less.
The report suggests that Longbow are keen to focus on Marcus Ericsson as the number one at the team but Monisha wasn’t keen on the idea. Once again reminding us all that you “Don’t Eff with the Swede”.
To be as fair as possible to Monisha, she held this team together through some very difficult times but I’ve heard whispers within the team that she isn’t the easiest of people to work with. To be fair, I feel at some level she was miscast for the play to be honest. That’s not entirely her fault as Peter Sauber was looking for an out and she took the bait.
I have no ill feelings toward Monisha but I have much stronger feelings about the team Sauber and if they’re trying to turn a new page with Honda in 2018, then perhaps it is a change for the better.
Hat Tip: Autosport