According to Sauber’s Monisha Kaltenborn, the future driver decisions will not be based on money…or maybe it will depending on the need…which they don’t have now. I’m confused:
“We have never at Sauber just taken a decision for financial reasons and we are known for that,” Kaltenborn told Motorsport.com.
“Financial reasons have to be considered, but we have always looked at the driver and have to be first convinced of the driver when we take him as a race driver.
“If money is required, which isn’t the current situation, not only for us, then one would have to take that into consideration as well. So I think nothing is going to change at that policy for us.
“We first look at the driver and then we see what the surrounding is and what we need.”
I would argue that their driver legal issues a couple of years ago at the season-opening race in Australia was a clear sign that money is an object when selecting drivers but then I would be marginalizing the new owners of the team and how much cash in hand they have to support the program—even to the point of not needing pay-drivers possibly?
Monisha seems to be saying that they are less reliant on pay drivers now that they have new owners and that the decision will be based on the fit between driver and team first and possible revenue second. In the case of current drivers Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr, both are bringing sponsor cash so one presumes they also are a great fit in the team and sometimes big wallets can make a good fit great.
Chances are, Ericsson will remain but there has been talk of Nasr looking at Williams and other opportunities. Would it surprise me if both drivers stayed for 2017? No. Would it surprise me if Sauber kept Ericsson and found another driver that may not be bringing cash? No. I think the point here is to relay a message that cash isn’t the first element like it may have been in the past but deliver the message in a manner that conveys the complete lack of need for a paying driver as the team is now robust and ready to spend money. Fair enough, I’ll take their word for it even if history suggests a different strategy.
I’ll settle my mind on the matter by suggesting that their 2017 approach is one based on the best talent they can get, not the most money. How’s that? Fair enough?
Hat Tip: Motorsport