We covered this ground before but the recent departure of chief designer Matt Morris from Sauber has me concerned about the replacement and what the absence means to the team. Morris departed Sauber for greener pasture at McLaren and while the Woking-based team had issues of their own that Morris will apparently cure, Sauber has few resources to afford top designer in Formula One.
The issue is compounded by the fact that the 2014 regulations signal the biggest change in decades to the sport’s specification and most teams are well down the road on their chassis designs for next year. Morris leaving now is a real blow to the team as driver Nico Hulkenberg told the press last Thursday. According to Hulkenberg, team boss Monisha Kaltenborn has promised him that they are doing everything they can to find a replacement as quick as possible.
“I think it’s a difficult situation,” Hulkenberg said.
“She (Kaltenborn) and the team management are trying to work on a solution. She’s assured me she’s working on that and there’s not much more I can say,”.
The team is one of the smallest in F1 and has no title sponsor apart from financial backing from billionaire Carlos Slim on the back of Mexican driver Esteban Gutierrez. Finding a new designer is critical at this point in the season. If there is an upside to the last week, it’s the good performance Hulkenberg put in at the German Grand Prix on Sunday which gives him three points-paying finishes on the year.
Next year’s car is crucial and continuing financial investment is seriously needed to hire a new designer and keep the team afloat. Let’s hope both come quickly as Sauber has been a terrific addition to Formula One since 1993. Sauber currently enjoy a long-time relationship with Ferrari and perhaps the team could seek a driver swap replacing Felipe Massa with Nico Hulkenberg and some cash given Massa’s lack-luster performances this year as teammate to fernando Alonso.