Meanwhile in Hinwil…

As the new teams begin to come out and show themselves, there has been very little word from Sauber headquarters in Hinwil in recent days. The team has had to lay off a number of people since it was sold to Peter Sauber after BMW’s first attempt to sell the team to Qadbak flopped. Dr Mario Theissen has stepped down and has gone back to his job at BMW Motorsport in Munich, leaving Peter Sauber and his people to get on with the job. The development of the car continued throughout the autumn, despite the troubles with Qadbak, and the team reports that the car is progressing well. The team has yet to nominate any drivers but Peter Sauber has been talking to Nick Heidfeld, Pedro de la Rosa, Giancarlo Fisichella, Kamui Kobayashi, Christian Klien and Vassily Petrov. There is also talk of a test drive for Belgium’s Bertrand Baguette.

Heidfeld is the main target as he has been with the team a long time, is experienced and would provide stability. However he is waiting to see what happens with the Mercedes GP drive if Michael Schumacher does not make a comeback. If Heidfeld goes Sauber may consider Fisichella or de la Rosa, although the Spaniard has long been linked to a job at Campos Meta. Klien is also experienced but has not raced for some years. The favourite for one of the seats is Japan’s Kamui Kobayashi, who made a decent impression at the end of this year with Toyota. He is believed to have sponsorship in the region of $10m for a drive, which would make him a very attractive proposition for the team.

It is expected that Malaysia’s Petronas will stay with Sauber, despite the emergence of Lotus F1.

10 thoughts on “Meanwhile in Hinwil…

  1. Interesting that Kobs is bringing $10 million with him … I thought I saw a quote from him somewhere that if Toyota hadn’t given him a drive, he would have ran out of money and gone back to being a chef in his dad’s Sushi restaurant?

  2. Different informations suggests that Kobayashi is signed by Sauber and the other seat will be between De la Rosa and Fisichella because if Heidfeld doesn’t take the second Mercedes seat he probably will be at Renault with Kubica.

    De la Rosa could have a 5 millions sponsorship of Santander and Ferrari would be pushing for Fisico.

    Any ideas about it ?

  3. Petronas and Sauber go way back.

    Heidfeld and Kobayashi would be an epic, but unlikely lineup, unless Heidfeld is willing to drive for free, or minimum wage.

    It will probably be Kobayashi and Vitaly Petrov, if Campos doesn’t sign the Vyborg Rocket.

    You must admit, Peter Sauber would fit well with Russian sponsorship, with that Patrick Stewart/Professor X look.

  4. If some sponsor pays the Sauber team $10mil for Kobayashi to have the ride, then who pays Kobayashi?

    How much money are younger, lesser-performing drivers making in this series? Presumably Heidfelt could retire; could Glock?

    There’s (ahem) an internet service that shows old F1 race videos (at fairly low resolution) 24 hours a day. About ten years ago, Aussie coverage host & former F1 champ Alan Jones announced that he was selling his trophies because he needed the money.

    This probably happens in every sport, certainly in all the big American sports, but it’s still heartbreaking.

  5. If Petronas stay, they may push for Kobayashi. The last couple of years they are heavily advertising their businesses in Japan through racing, the winning JGTC Lexus team is sponsored by them and also Tom’s Toyota F3 squad.
    Also Baguette used to have this Bertrand Baguette business club, which included at least 50 or smth companies! His father Marcel is really well connected through his tracking business and he’s been talking of F1 since the summer, so may be Bertrand has a very solid backing. Of course you never know what help he can get from the Morinis…
    He was never aiming at GP2 and I doubt he would take a test driver role and then start GP2 w/o any winter testing or Asia races.

  6. Vasily Petrov? Am i missing something here or is the Russian physicist who died in the 1800s going to drive for Sauber?

  7. Crid, lately the wages for young drivers have gone down for some reason. Which is remarkable considering that the gaps in F1 have gone so much down and as Kimi very well said, the role of the driver has increased.
    When you consider the investment you have to make to reach F1, the wages for many drivers seem minimal.
    In the 90’s, driver wages were similar and even a lot higher to todays level if you correct them with inflation. Back then, the cost to reach F1 was also waaaay lower.

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