Whilst the F1 paddock is busy in Baku, the breaking news today is that Sauber boss, Monisha Kaltenborn has been sacked. The Swiss based racing company investors have decided enough is enough and F1’s first female team principal is no more.
Following years of financial difficulties and annual rumours of creditors imminent winding up petitions, Peter Sauber and Kaltenborn secured the long term future of Sauber F1 when they sold their shares last summer to Swiss company Longbow – who are closely connected with Marcus Ericsson’s financiers Tetra-Pak.
Recent whispers in the paddock have suggested a growing difference of opinion between the Sauber team owners and Kaltenborn over ‘preferential’ treatment being offered to driver Marcus Ericsson.
Indian born Kaltenborn was educated in law at the University of Vienna following her parents emigration to Austria. She studied her Masters degree at the prestigious London School of Economics whilst working for the United Nations Industrial development Organisation and the Un Commission for International Trade Law.
All the more surprising then that Sauber became engulfed in an international legal dispute over contracts with its drivers. This followed Kaltenborn’s decision to sign Marcus Ericsson andFelipe Nasr whilst the team’s incumbent drivers Giedo van der Garde and Adrian Sutil had at least a year further to run.
The Australian Supreme Court repeatedly issued rulings during the week’s run up to the 2015 season’s opener in Melbourne resulting in Bailiff’s attending the Sauber garages at the circuit and Kaltenborn herself under imminent threat of arrest.
The matter was resolved later that year, with the team believed to have paid off both original drivers substantial multi million pound settlements which again plunged Sauber into financial chaos.
The Sauber motorhome in Baku is remarkably quiet for now, as official news has not been forthcoming.
This has not prevented speculation beginning about who will take over from Kaltenborn – and to what maybe the horror of Caterham F1 employees and fans – Colin Kolles is believed to be in the frame. That said, the team’s best paid former driver tweeted this ironic suggestion a few minutes ago.
Always have wanted to add ‘Team Principal’ on my resume… #youguysstillgotmynumber
— Giedo van der Garde (@GvanderGarde) June 21, 2017
The Sauber F1 team’s results have been poor this season, scoring just 4 points and they are ahead only of the hapless McLaren in the constructors championship.
There have been failures in Sauber’s technical department with long awaited updates in Monaco failing to impress. Kaltenborn has been trying to recruit in recent times, but the team owners appear to be more inclined to stick with the technical skills present.