Monisha Kaltenborn out at Sauber

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Photo by: www.kymillman.com/F1

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

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Achim
Guest
Achim

It’s hard judge her achievements as CEO at Sauber. On the one hand she kept the team alive during very difficult, financially challenging times, where others simply went bankrupt. But then, the decline in performance is frustrating. Sauber used to be the “best-of-the-rest” team like Force India is now, often with a chance of a podium when the top teams struggle. Those were the days, but so far I can’t see any indication, that these days will come back anytime soon. And they won’t come back if the rumours on the focus on Ericson are true. A small team must… Read more »

The Late Idi Amin
Member
The Late Idi Amin

If you are the guy bringing a large percentage of a small teams budget, you are the decider, pretty much, no matter who the boss is.

Achim
Guest
Achim

Williams never favoured Pastor, they don’t favour Stroll now. Money buys you the race seat, that’s it. And I am pretty sure, Sauber did not give the seat to Pascal for free. Merc is paying for that, and they won’t be happy if their driver is disadvantaged.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

The story I hear from my source is different to the one being pushed out by most F1 websites (the owners wanted one driver to be given preference over the other). My source says that central to the problem between Pascal Picci and Monisha Kaltenborn was that she felt that he was interfering in what she was trying to achieve. Kalenborn was trying to recruit new technical leadership and Picci wanted to stay with what they have. Center to the problem is technical director Jorg Zender, who Kaltenborn says has failed to make much of an impact in his six… Read more »

Achim
Guest
Achim

that sounds at least much more reasonable than the widely reported Ericson rumour. Let’s see, maybe over the Baku weekend we will get a bit more clarity.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Also about “Kaltenburon wasn’t getting the results” it is now looking more like she wasn’t given the chance, in fact it looks like she was stoped trying to do that,
Also about the old so called “hiring three, some say four driver for two seats”, That story of the driver contracts was not correct. the problem was a mistake by the team choosing not to discuss it in public, so the reporting was all biased. at that time and directly connected was back than an attempt at a hostile take-over of the team.

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

It ended up in the supreme court of Victoria, and the courts ruled in the drivers favour and against Sauber. How can you claim the story was incorrect?

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

That the story was/is incorrect is my opinion, an opinion like all of those outside and so external to the circle directly concerned had. As I said, in my opinion it was a mistake on the part of Sauber choosing not to discuss things in public as people only heard the Van de Garde side of the story , a story of which supercharged the biased reporting on the matter. In the end regardless the thing having ended in the Victoria supreme court that ruled in the drivers favor, the end result was VdG neither drove and nor has been… Read more »

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

1) Three drivers had contracts with the team. supreme court. It is 2) Sauber and VdG settled out of court after the court ruled in favour of VdG.

Those are not opinions. Those are facts, in a supreme court.

How Sauber handled the situation and whether they should have gone public sooner, and your view on that is an opinion.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

If VdG was vindicated by the Australian court, he would have had his drive. not only did he not drive, but it ended his connection with F1. the payment (reported) was a complicated business that amounted to an attempt to mount a hostile takeover of the team, not by VdG but it was a plot by his management.
Yes the story was incorrect, (I did not and am not saying it was not true) because all was based on what one part was feeding the press.

Formerly Known As
Guest
Formerly Known As

The story about two or more drivers having contracts to drive for Sauber in 2015 was correct regardless of what either parties were telling or not telling the media. In an excerpt of court notes: The Applicants, Dutch Formula One driver Giedo van der Garde and his management company (the “BV Company”), filed an Originating Application on 5 March 2015 to enforce an arbitral award made by sole arbitrator Mr Todd Wetmore (“Arbitrator”) on 2 March 2015 (“Award”).[2] The arbitration, held in London on 11 and 12 February 2015, was conducted pursuant to the Swiss Rules of International Arbitration. The… Read more »

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

VdG who was awarded the drive by the Australian judge had one of the sauber cars ready to jump into and drive in the Sauber garage, he even was in racing coveralls, at that point there was no settlement/s, The end result was, he not only did not drive, but his formula one Career was finished. That the story of the drivers contract as pushed out by most of the press was/is not correct is as I said, because (and in my opinion it was a mistake on the part of the team) the team chose not to discuss things… Read more »

Formerly Known As
Guest
Formerly Known As

First, I didn’t give an opinion on Kaltenborn and certainly have no need to pillory her. I am just stating what the courts have judged to be the facts in the case of Sauber vs VDG. The fact that VDG was awarded the right to drive for the whole season of 2015 due to evidence presented in court meant that he did indeed have a contract to drive for Sauber in 2015. Nasr and Ericsson’s representative also confirmed to the courts that they also have contracts with Sauber which means that there were more than two drivers that had contracts… Read more »

Negative Camber
Guest

I agree Tom, it is circular discussion to speak about what the team chose not to disclose publicly as a lynch pin to defending them. They made a bad move and paid for it out of court and part of that agreement was buying VdG off not handing him a ride. that wasn’t going to happen and it negates that fact that VdG’s willingness to take the money and not demand the seat was his choice. I love Sauber but ultimately Monisha didn’t part company because she was wildly successful and simply put upon but other mean people and the… Read more »

The Late Idi Amin
Member
The Late Idi Amin

Williams is much different case, thats Frank’s baby and nobody effs with Frank Williams when it comes to his baby.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

The rules does not permit “updates/improving” of any sorts to a year-old power unit specification when it approves its use.

Achim
Guest
Achim

But the Honda deal is in my opinion a good example, that it is very difficult to judge Monisha from the outside. Getting a Honda deal now is from a pure performance point of view very risky, to say the least. The smart move would be to wait until Honda gets it “sh**” together and then make a deal. But on the other hand, maybe the deal was the best deal ever, because it was the only way to keep the team alive and solvent. Hard to say.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

I don’t remember on which thread/page, I expressed my opinion that I believe all team’s bosses will for sure take decisions which they believe are best for their team, about that I don’t see how anybody can have any doubt. but yes decisions taken can turn out to be good as much as bad.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

If the rumors circulating about (CK) are true than its RIP Sauber as the dentist is back.

JasonSCarter
Guest
JasonSCarter

Monisha has hung up her dentist coat for the last time.

Maybe they should bring in Ron Dennis! We need to keep the “nice Ron” jokes going

Negative Camber
Guest

If they are serious about bringing Kolles back, how many times can we re-tread that tire? I’m not even sure wha tLongbow’s long-term plan is. Perhaps ProDrive can step in and we get Dave richards back!

Achim
Guest
Achim

Well, the Kolles car made it to turn 5 or so at the 24h of Le Mans. And next year Sauber get Honda engines. I think they are a natural fit. ;-)

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Who knows or can tell what the Honda engine will be like next year?.

Achim
Guest
Achim

I was just going for a cheap joke … :-)

Nobody knows, I think the Honda deal was a pure money deal for Sauber. Get free engines instead of paying for old Ferraris. Keeping the team solvent. Some outlets reported, Honda will also place a Japanese driver in the team. So, who will be out: Pascal, or does someone eff with the Swede?

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Re threading CK/Colin Koles/the dentist, I remember how MR F1 use to praise him, he seems to have had a liking for the way he does things!. Ones he even went out of his way to help solve one of his best ever doings!

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

Think after F1 turned down Richards Application twice for his own F1 team, and he failed to buy two of them + Customer car row, he’s done with F1 ;-)

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

In the recent Motorsport podcast with David Richards he didn’t rule F1 out, saying the Prodrive have an annual process where they assess the options of what they might want to get involved in. It didn’t sound like he was bursting to get into F1, in fact it could easily have been ‘the politicians brush off’ to the question, but he didn’t say “no”.

Tom Firth
Guest
Tom Firth

Yeah. It was a bit of a cheap joke, I was going with. I’m sure in reality Richards and Prodrive are always evaluating F1 and rightly so. I need to actually listen to that podcast. I’m hoping it talks about several aspects of ProDrive’s history?

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Oops, caught out being too serious :-(
The podcast is a great listen, lots about Dave Richards life and Prodrive.

Jason Smith
Guest
Jason Smith

Todd, exactly how long did you scout the internet looking for the saddest picture of Monisha possible? The only thing missing is a ficus.

Negative Camber
Guest

LOL…It’s a recent picture from our friend Kym Illman. :) He’s fantastic. If you haven’t heard the Downshift interview I did with him, check it out, I think you’ll like him a lot. Great guy.

Member

The countdown to Sauber’s end begins now.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

I thought they were gone when BMW pulled out, and they’ve survived another 7 years. Hopefully Longbow and Picci have managerial talent as well as loadsamoney ;-)

meine
Member
meine

O boy. An american football parabel.

Didn’t I hear in some podcast Formula 1 was more like a game of chess? By some Todler-guy?

;-)

meine
Member
meine

By the way, who where those guys again running Marussia?

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

It looks like Sauber has been her whole career, and she’s obviously had the support of Peter Sauber to advance to the CEO, part owner and then team principal positions. A change in executive management isn’t unusual when new owners come in, particularly long serving management who’s loyalty may be seen to be with the existing structures and ideas, rather than anything the new owners propose. Her leaving is probably more down to difference of opinion with the new owners than her historic performance or which driver she ‘likes’. Lets see what future plans and new management Longbow can bring………… Read more »

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Monisha Kaltenbon did not and does not deserved/deserve to be pilloried by the mostly (but not all) of the British based F1 press and also by the mostly (but not all) of their followers. I know and understand that in the free world we live in it is a right of theirs and they can scream it till blue in the face, but she doesn’t deserve all that. Contrary to the picture painted and constantly pushed-out by the above people, Monisha Kaltenborn is regarded by all of her peers in the F1 paddock without exception as the only woman team… Read more »

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

A victim of the ‘golden rule’ perhaps?
The person with the gold makes the rules. ;-)

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

spot on as regards the man with the gold, but in my book when it comes to reporting and informing (and I will repeat, most and not by all) its gutter journalism.

Negative Camber
Guest

I have no idea where your sources are from or if you work inside the F1 paddock but we know folks who do and who work for the team in question. It’s been a tough time and I would say that she is not without her challenges and that’s putting it very politely. IT takes two to tango and while she’s a sharp person intellectually, that’s not all it takes to win in F1. It’s a tough world.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

A Formula 1 team boss who’s difficult to work with, now there’s a novelty ;-)

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

The problem at Sauber was always about keeping the team on the grid and about 350 people in their job.
Not making or wanting to make any excuses, the Sauber/VdG situation back than was what it was, in the F1 paddock the consensus was and still is today Monisha Kaltenborn was/is the one reason that the team is still in F1 and has survived so far.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

JAKO, Off topic this, but moderator permitting, here is something different for a change till waiting for FP1 to start. Been following non English speaking F1 sites with much interest the whole past week claiming that Honda might had gained as much as (half their deficit) for this weekend race, a much needed break-through as regards their PU output this time. I for one honestly wish them luck.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Fingers crossed that your sources are right and the Honda starts to perform as it should.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Honda run/tested their specification 3 engine in FP1 and FP2, it was used only by Alonso, Vandoorn used their specification 2 engine.
Alonso will revert back to using specification 2 engine from tomorrow.
At the next race Honda hopes to race the now tested specification 3 engine.
It has been reported that they did not use the full new changes (parts) of the specification 3 engine.
A reasonable good improvement in engine output was recorded.
Both cars were ran with same aero downforce levels for this test.
Alonso specification 3 engine, straightline speed = 327km/h.
Vandoorn specification 2 engine, straightline speed = 312km/h.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

That sounds promising, less than 10kph down on the top numbers I saw in FP1. Any comments from McLaren Honda on the new spec unit?

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Alonso had third best top speed recorded at the finish line (342.4km/h). and that without all the new bits of the specification 3 fitted. This data was posted in top left hand corner of screen.
The speeds I quoted in the other post was for one of the other sectors of the track.
They say they don’t see any Benefits of racing the specification 3 engine in Baku because of the grid penalty’s already incurred.
besides I believe that they have only one specification 3 unit (engine) in Baku, and that it is not yet a full specification 3.

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Some interesting comments from the drivers and teams at this page,

Baku Day 1: Team and driver reports


Including some positive comments on the Honda upgrade from Boulier and Hasegawa.
Grosjean’s comments vs Magnussen’s are a hoot. BigJohn is a bit more open, but critical.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

If you missed the FIA on screen data of top speeds at finnishline try google this.
“i.redd.it/kd93wigxie5z. png”

jakobusvdl
Guest
jakobusvdl

Thanks for the link, those are some BIG speeds – from the third and fourth most powerful p.u’s on the grid, and even last year’s Ferrari can post 340kph speeds. Maybe the new spec Honda isn’t that special after all ;-)
Even so it must be nice for Alonso to get up to Indy speeds again, even if is just for a moment per lap, instead of the whole lap.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Swiss newspaper “BLICK” reports that Picci (owner of Sauber) has confirmed that Vasseur is the now new team principal.

Hanwi
Guest
Hanwi

I lament the loss of any woman in motorsport but she was glaringly inept at running an F1 team. I’m sure she’s a great lawyer but she just didn’t cut it at Sauber. We’ll never know the difficulties she faced everyday but her shortcomings were well documented. Would a man have done better? I don’t know, I think it’s just a really crap situation at Sauber and anyone would have struggled running from fire to fire.

I guess there is a reason I keep pictures of Claire on my wall over Monisha.comment image

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Monisha Kaltenborn was/is the one reason that the team is still in F1 and survived to this day.

Hanwi
Guest
Hanwi

You are probably correct, I don’t personall follow Sauber that closely, I’m only aware of the blunders the media is so fond of reporting.

Salvu Borg
Guest
Salvu Borg

Yes the media, at least some of it, is so fond of reporting and in the process speculating about blunders perceived or not in F1.

Formerly Known As
Guest
Formerly Known As

On the contrary. Kaltenborn’s missteps in contracting more than 2 drivers for 2015 almost cost Sauber almost all of its assets and the jobs of hundreds of people.

Had it not been for VDG accepting a settlement, Sauber could have ceased operations before even lining up on the grid on the first race of the 2015 season.

This blunder of Monisha is not perceived nor exaggerated by the press. It actually happened and there are court records to prove it.