Sauber have announced the sale of the team to Swiss investment company Longbow Finance in a deal which will secure their future in the Formula One paddock.
Founder Peter Sauber will retire for all functions with the team, but Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn will stay on. Sauber had been in dire financial trouble and had difficulties paying staff after a tough season on and off the track. Pascal Picci of Longbow Finance will replace Peter Sauber as chairman but the team will retain the Sauber name for this season at least.
A statement from Sauber, who founded the team in 1991 and has run the team since then – barring a 4 year period from 2005 to 2009 when it was run by BMW – read:
“Monisha Kaltenborn and I yesterday signed an agreement which secures the future of the Formula 1 Team and the Sauber Group.
“I am very happy that my courageous investment to buy the team back, which I made six years ago, with the intention to secure the base in Hinwil and the place in Formula 1 has proved to be correct.”
While the team’s future is secure and the jobs of those in the base in Zurich are secure the race seats of Felipe Nasr and Marcus Ericsson – who both bring sponsors to the team – is in some doubt, though they will finish out the 2016 season that much has been made clear.
“We are very pleased that by reaching an agreement with Longbow Finance S.A., we can secure the future of Sauber at the pinnacle of motorsport,”
“We are convinced that Longbow Finance S.A. is the perfect partner to again make the team competitive and successful in Formula 1. This solution is in the best interest of our employees, partners, loyal suppliers, the base in Hinwil and for the Swiss motorsport.
“We are very grateful that Longbow Finance S.A.believes in the competences, efficiency and capabilities of Sauber Group, and we look forward to a new exciting future.”
The financial struggles have seen Sauber cast adrift from most of the F1 pack and languish at the back of the grid – a long way from their sole F1 win in 2008 which came at the hand of the brilliant Robert Kubica.