Sky F1’s Martin Brundle has questioned Sauber’s continued presence in F1 as well as the Swiss outfit’s underlying purpose.
The team’s lackluster performance in the 2023 constructors’ championship, securing only a ninth-place finish and narrowly outpacing fellow Ferrari customer team Haas, marked a significant regression from their commendable sixth-place finish in the 2022 championship.
However, year in and year out, for several decades, the Hinwil squad’s performance has ebbed and flowed within the confines of the second half of the field.
But in recent season, opportunities for podiums, let alone race wins, have been few and far between, fueling Brundle’s questions about Sauber’s very existence.
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“They’ve shown some pace from time to time, not so much this season as last year,” noted the former F1 driver.
“But particularly with Valtteri Bottas I think it’s a solid set-up, let’s call it Sauber. I’ve always wondered kind of why they existed, what they were aiming for, where’s the goal when with other teams it’s quite clear what they’re trying to do.
“But it’s a serious team based in Switzerland, they’ll launch the car in Great Britain in 2024. I wouldn’t underestimate them but they just seem to spin their wheels around the same place in the world championships.
“So, something needs to change, that change could of course well be Audi progressively taking the team over ready for a 2026 onslaught.”
The looming takeover by German automotive giant Audi from 2026 offers indeed some good prospects for Sauber.
But the transition period could be challenging. With two years to go before Audi’s full integration, Sauber could be facing difficult campaigns in 2024 and 2025, further jeopardizing its position in the sport.
Brundle’s assessment highlights the need for Sauber to demonstrate a clear path towards sustainable success and a defined purpose in F1, with or without Audi’s support.
Without a clear direction and a strong commitment to competitive performance, the team’s future in the sport will remain uncertain.
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