Mexican rising star Sergio Perez has been announced as one of Sauber’s race drivers for the 2011 season.
Perez, who drove in this season’s GP2 Series, will join Kaumi Kobayashi at the Swiss based outfit. Sauber took over the team once again at the start of the season, following BMW’s withdrawal from the sport.
“Formula 1 is the dream of every young racing driver,” said Perez. “And now this dream is about to come true for me.
“Although I’m very much aware that this is also a big challenge and responsibility, I’m happy to accept that and am proud to be representing my country in the highest category of motor racing.
“I would like to thank Peter Sauber for the faith he’s shown in me and I’ll do everything I can to make the most of this wonderful opportunity.”
Along with a new driver, Sauber also announced a major sponsorship deal with Telmex, the telecommunications company owned by Mexican entrepreneur Carlos Slim.
“Sauber has been not only a very successful racing team but also a strong talent developer of some of the most recognised names in racing since their early stages as well as one of the most respected people in the sport,” said Telmex chairman Carlos Slim Domit, the eldest son of Slim.
“Their decision of having Sergio with them is very significant on his career to become a top driver representing Mexico. For Telmex and our racing project Escuderia Telmex it’s a great step forward, and we feel very proud to be able to consolidate these years of work for having a Mexican driver in F1 with Sauber Motorsport.”
Peter Sauber added: “Telmex has been involved in motor sport for a number of years already and supports drivers in various race series. Now they are making the key step up into the top category of motor racing, and we are happy and proud that they are taking this step with us.”
Sauber have already changed drivers this season, with Nick Heidfeld replacing Pedro de La Rosa. The German now has no seat for 2011, although he is being linked with a drive at Renault.
Some of the top team principals in Formula One have spoken out about the current decision making process over the new tyre manufacturer for Formula One. Bridgestone, the sole supplier for many season’s contract runs out at the end of 2010 and a new manufacturer needs to be selected. Pirelli and Michelin are the final two manufacturers in the running for the contract.
Ross Brawn, the principal of Mercedes Benz and former owner of Brawn GP said that he feels the teams need a couple of test sessions with demo tyres from the new manufacturers.
“There has got to be some testing with the new tyre supplier, whoever it is, so I think late summer and early winter there will be some tests organised with the new tyre supplier,” said Brawn.
“But again, we must try and accommodate that within the teams we have. We can’t afford to go out and start rebuilding test teams again.”
Brawn re-itterated the point that the teams want to keep similar technical regulations with regard the tyres, a statement which almost confirms Pirelli not Michelin will be chosen as the Italian manufacturer wanted to stick with the current Bridgestone-spec tyres.
“The teams have together produced a technical specification of the tyre we want,” he said. “So there is a document that we have all contributed to which is a broad spec of the sort of tyre that we want which means there is a single directive to the new tyre supplier of the type of tyre that is needed.
“That means we can continue with the development of our cars. Our cars are being designed around the current tyres because we have no other information.
“So I think everybody wants a tyre to come in that has similar construction characteristics to the current tyre, whether the compounds are quite the same is another matter.”
Meanwhile Swiss team boss Peter Sauber says he wants a decision sooner rather than later.
“I hope we have a solution before Canada,” Sauber said.
“It is not an easy situation this tyre situation, but it is important we have a tyre supplier for the next season and I think it is important to have a sole supplier tyre.”
Eric Boullier said while his team should theoretically favour the Michelin contract, his team were totally neutral in the decision.
“Let’s say historically Renault could prefer Michelin because they are both French companies, but I don’t think there is a preference for the Renault F1 team,” said Boullier.
Peter Sauber has revealed that his team are considering dropping the BMW part of their name following the German car manufacturer’s decision to pull out of the sport and sell the team back to him at the end of last season.
It was a surprise to many that eter Sauber kept the BMW part of the team name, especially considering that he is getting engines supplied by Ferrari but he has revealed he was hoping for a major sponsor to add to the team name.
“We will submit an application for a chassis name change, but the timing has yet to be decided,” he said when asked by Autosport Magazine about the naming situation.
“It will happen some time this season.”
He said that sponsors had been difficult to come by, and that he was disappointed his cars remained soley white.
“Today we are looking for sponsors for the 2011 season. I hope we will find some sponsors for this season.”
“If we find a title sponsor for 2011 in the middle of the year then maybe we can have them for this season too,” he added.
James Key, who stepped down from his role as technical director with Force India just a few days ago has been annoucned today as the new technical director of the Sauber F1 Team.
Key, who is just 38 and has years of experience with Jordan, Midland, Spyker and Force India under his belt will take over the role from April, when Willy Rampf steps down from the position after many years in charge. Key will start work before hand to get used to the team.
He admitted on visiting the new Hinwil factory in Switzerland, he had his mind made up with the team having endless opportunities.
“The first time I saw the facilities in Hinwil, I knew straightaway the kind of opportunities open to me there. The wind tunnel, the supercomputer, the machine park and the expertise of the team were extremely persuasive.
“There is significant potential at Sauber, and with the ever-changing world of F1 I think the team is very well placed at present.
“I am grateful to my old team for the past 12 years I spent with them, but now I very much look forward to starting my new job. I would like to thank Peter Sauber and the team for this great opportunity.”
Peter Sauber was very happy with his new signing.
“Despite his young age, James looks back on more than a decade of experience in Formula 1 – and the 2009 car in particular proved quite a revelation,” said Sauber.
“James comes from a private team and knows how to work around a limited budget. With us he will enjoy high-level technical opportunities.”
Sauber have launched their first independent F1 car since 2005 today, the team took the covers off their new car known as the C29 in a low-key ceremony in Valencia.
The car retains a BMW Sauber style paint job with a majority white finish and bits of navy and a tiny streak of red, but so far the team possesses no sponsors of note. Hopefully this will change before the season opener in Bahrain in 6 weeks time. Another thing which we hope will change is the name, at the moment the team are still known as BMW Sauber F1, but I’m sure Peter Sauber, and Ferrari their engine supplier would like that name adjusted.
The car features an uncharacteristically high nose, but once again it is a long one – clearly a 2010 common feature. the car has a beautifully sculpted rear, and features a shark-fin wing like the one on the McLaren albeit a little shorter. The Sauber is probably, in my mind, the most visually pleasing of the 2010 cars so far, but it remains to be seen whether it will be fast.
Willy Rampf, technical director was bouyant.
“The development of the BMW Sauber C29 has seen the team build on the experience gained last year and the improvement in performance over the final third of the season. However, the new regulations banning refuelling during the race and stipulating a reduced width for the front tyres have required significant changes to the car’s design.”
Owner Peter Sauber was happy with progress, admitting it has been a frantic chase to the grid.
“The last few months have been very intense for us,” said Sauber. “First we had to battle to secure the survival of the team and then we focused on putting a strong set-up in place for the future.
“The technical preparation of the 2010 car has continued uninterrupted and according to plan since the spring of 2009, despite all the turmoil. We have a long tradition of bringing together an up-and-coming youngster and an experienced campaigner as a driver combination – and it’s an approach that has brought us a lot of success.”
The drivers for 2010 are talented rookie Kamui Kobayashi, and 38 year old perennial McLaren test driver Pedro de La Rosa who says he never expected to get another shot at racing.
“At last I can feel like a proper racing driver again,” he said. “I’ve really missed the competition out on the track. At the same time, though, I’ve learned a lot technically and on the systems side, and now I want to bring that knowledge to the team.”
The car will be on track testing from tomorrow, along with most of the other teams in Valencia. Renault launch their new car, the R30 this afternoon.
The Sauber F1 Team will make a return to the Formula One grid for the first time since their owner sold the team to BMW at the end of the 2005 season.
Toyota pulled out of F1 and made a grid slot available, which was desired by Sauber – but could have been taken away if someone had bought Toyota.
With the Japanese manufacturer confirming last night that they had returned their entry to Bernie Ecclestone and the FIA, it looked ever more likely Sauber would be confirmed on the grid, and now they have been.
“This is excellent news for the workforce in Hinwil,” said owner Peter Sauber.
“After many weeks of uncertainty, we have finally secured our place on the grid for 2010. Now we can enter into concrete negotiations with drivers and sponsors.”
A statement issued by the FIA said: “The FIA has written to inform BMW Sauber AG that their application for an entry in the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championship has been successful.”
“Subject to their signing the Concorde Agreement, BMW Sauber will be awarded the 13th entry in the Championship, taking the place of the departing Toyota team.
“The FIA has worked closely with the Commercial Rights Holder and the teams involved over recent weeks and is grateful for their support in achieving the best outcome for the sport.”
The team are already working on their 2010 car, codenamed the C29 which is likely to be powered by Ferrari engines, and Christian Klien is currently favourite for a race seat.
The Toyota F1 Team are NOT selling their F1 entry, claiming they have already given it back to the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone.
This news will come as a crushing blow for Stefan GP who were hopng to purchase the former team based in Cologne. However it will be a champagne moment for Peter Sauber, whose team look to be set on the path back to Formula One.
A Toyota source said they are also working on a reduced penalty fine for leaving F1 having signed up to the 2012 Concorde Agreement with Bernie Ecclestone.
The source said: “We have returned our entry to the FIA and have no intention or wish to influence or interfere in the allocation process. That is a matter for the Federation.
“We are discussing a settlement with Bernie on the basis of goodwill and what is acceptable to all parties.”
They are going to sell their initial 2010 car model however, and there has been some interest – Stefan Gp’s name was banded around, although without a grid slot the reasoning behind their purchase would be confusing. Allegedly, the source says, Kamui Kobayashi is being offered as part of the deal!
Peter Sauber has said he is “very confident” that his newly re-formed Sauber team will gain the final grid slot, after an FIA meeting for the 2010 season.
The Swiss businessman bought back his team from BMW and is now hoping to gain the empty grid slot vacated by Toyota. The only stumbling block to this is a report in today’s Blick a Swiss based tabliod saying that Serbian GP outfit ‘Stefan GP’ are to buy Toyota’s operation and rename it in order to avoid some $130million of fines.
The above is increasingly unlikely, and Sauber is confident the Hinwil outfit will make Bahrain next year.
“This agreement means that the future of the team and the location in Hinwil are secured,” he said in an interview with Formulaone.com
“I am very relieved about that development.”
“It would have been a crying shame had one of the best Formula 1 factories closed down. Regarding the slot on the grid I am very confident that we will be given a final confirmation very shortly.”
In terms of his new car, now known as the C29, which will be powered by Ferarri, Sauber is confident regarding its development into a fast paced machine.
“Our 2010 car is perfectly on schedule,” he said. “The development and fabrication have been unaffected by the situation. Having been able to proceed with uninterrupted development was also possible thanks to excellent cooperation with Ferrari, who submitted all the relevant data very early.
“Regarding the performance of the C29 we are all very confident. Two months before the first tests, we have already reached a very good basis for further development.”
Peter Sauber has announced that he has purchased his old Formula One team back from BMW.
The businessman sold his successful team to the German car manfuacturer at the end of 2005, and the team achieved some success with Sauber staying on board. His name stayed on the cars too. However with BMW pulling out of the sport, the future of the team remained uncertain.
Qadback Investments Group wanted to buy the team, but their financial dealings are under scrutiny, and Peter Sauber stepped in to get his old team back.
The whole deal is built on whether or not they get the final grid slot, which is yet to be decided, as Toyota have pulled out of the sport.
“We are very happy with this solution,” said Dr Klaus Draeger, Member of the Board of Management of BMW AG. “This fulfils the most important requirement for a successful future for the team.
“Our relationship with Peter Sauber has always been excellent and marked by absolute respect. We would like to express our thanks to Peter Sauber and the whole team for the excellent cooperation during the recent four years.”
Peter Sauber added; “I am very relieved that we have found this solution. It means we can keep the Hinwil location and the majority of workplaces. I am convinced that the new team has a very good future in Formula One, whose current transformation with new framework conditions will benefit the private teams.
“Our staff here are highly competent and motivated, and I look forward to taking on this new challenge together with them. I would like to thank BMW for four shared years that have in the main been very successful.”
We at The F1 Fanatics Blog are really happy about this, Sauber were a great team and we can just hope they make the 2010 grid!