Formula 1 News

Is Kaltenborn position in danger?

Swiss media are reporting that Sauber's new Russian investors are looking at replacing current Team Principal and CEO with one of their own personnel.
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

July 22nd, 2013 (F1plus/ J. Leslie).- Kaltenborn's seat could be under threat due to the agreed investment from Russia - who are reported to be pouring in an estimated $500 million into the team over the next few months.

The investors want a more hands-on involvement in the team and appointing a new CEO or Team Principal would be - in their eyes - the perfect position. Swiss German-language newspaper Blick insiders report: "Team boss Monisha Kaltenborn's time seems over. When and by whom she will be replaced with remains open."

Reports also suggest that Kaltenborn may be one of several changes to high profile personnel to take place in the next few months as the investors money starts to trickle into Sauber's accounts.

The engineering and designing staff look to also be in contention of being replaced by staff loyal to the new shareholders, which is described as "a Russian group close to President Vladamir Putin."

Sauber's former chief designer Matt Morris exited the team at the end of last month and was replaced by former head of concept design Eric Gandelin. However his recently promotion could be under threat too if the reports are in fact true.

One high profile team member has already been confirmed: 17-year-old Sergey Sirotkin who will drive for the team in some shape or form next year.

I have been sceptical about Sirotkin's signing - where he looks set to become the youngest person to ever drive a Formula 1 car. His appointment also casts a shadow over the future of race drivers Nico Hulkenberg and Esteban Gutierrez - although the former is highly tipped to leave the team anyway.

Kaltenborn became the first female team principal in Formula 1 when she took over the role from Peter Sauber in January 2010. The 42-year-old was then handed a 33.3% stake in the team in May 2012 but it is not clear how the recent bail-out will affect her stake in the team.

Sauber was forced to seek a bail-out from investors after reportedly amassing $110 million in debt which left it struggling to operate. They failed to pay suppliers because of this and lead driver Nico Hulkenberg failed to receive any payment in May and June - this caused the termination of his contract which means that should he want to leave the team before the season, he can.

Peter Sauber is said to be fighting hard to keep the Sauber name in F1 and its Swiss Hinwil base. The F1 paddock are widely expecting the investors to 'write off' this season and concentrate on establishing a new structure and line-up for the start of 2014.

This obviously shows that the big changes to the team may not become evident until later in the season.

Meanwhile on a similar note, Sergey Sitorkin admitted to AUTOSPORT that whilst he feels that he can be ready to make his F1 debut by next March, he may be a bit too young.

He said: "At the moment, maybe I am a little bit too young, but that doesn't mean I cannot be ready. I have more than half a year to learn, I am doing a good preparation programme and I can be ready. I don't think it is going to be a big problem."

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