The entire F1 pit lane feels hugely sorry that Peter Sauber has been unable to re-kindle much vestige of competitive form from his long-established F1 team in the season after he regained control of the operation after BMW’s decision to turn its back on the F1 business.
Yet last week Sauber himself, a normally rather reticent and reserved individual, spoke out in trenchant terms about how the legacy of the team’s now-departed former technical director Willy Rampf, BMW themselves and Ferrari, who have provided their engines this season, have all fallen badly short in their respective fields. The result is that this year’s Sauber-Ferrari has been a pretty hopeless piece of kit by any standards.
As a result, drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Kamui Kobayashi have been unable to deliver anything but bit-part, walk-on roles and go into next weekend’s European GP at Valencia with just a single constructors’ championship point on the scoreboard, placed ninth with only the three newsomcre Lotus, HRT and Virgin trailing them in the table. Just to remind you, and offer a touch of perspective, McLaren go to Valencia leading the standings on 215 points ahead of Red Bull Racing on 161.
Quite what the future holds for Sauber is unclear. There are suggestions that the Swiss-based operation might be the target for a takeover bid from a new group wanting to enter F1 but who are not keen to start off down the Cosworth customer route.
Certainly it would be a shame if the Sauber name was lost to the GP grids in the future. Peter himself has been synonymous over the years with decency and fairness, qualities which are not always consistently evident in the upper reaches of F1 in the first decade of the new millenium.