Very fishy. Mark Smith’s word were all over the announcement of the C35 last week, but then Sauber don’t pay people, then they do and he’s gone the next week, with the team confirming ‘he has already left the company’.
Someone doesn’t just up and leave a position without notice. Are we thinking dismissal or something else?
“Someone doesn’t just up and leave a position without notice.”
They didn’t pay people on time (by some weeks) and thus breached their contract. He could therefore leave immediately if he chose to – he did.
Or it could just be that he really has family reasons for returning to the UK. I’ve been there; it was a choice between a very mobile job I quite liked, or my marriage. I chose my wife and daughters, and found a new job local to the family home.
“Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.” (Sigmund Freud, allegedly)
And I seem to remember that he left under a bit of a cloud last time, having fallen out with team management (some sources citing issues around Jarno Trulli’s departure, others including I think Joe suggesting role and grade issues relating to the Tim Densham / Mark Smith alternating design lead system undermining Smith’s claim to be TD or something similar); I guess Pat Symonds and all the people on the management side have moved on, so if Bob Bell doesn’t bear any grudges and rates him highly enough to hire him, that’ll be that.
Immediately takes the pressure off the remaining staff if the car is a dog though. Surely after Ferrari Sauber is the team you knew would require you to spend your weekdays, as well as your weekend out of the UK. European commuting sucks.
Wonder if he’ll be returning to Enstone any time soon?
I do find Sauber’s recent predicament odd… not paying staff wages is, I think, always one of the biggest no no’s for any company. Doing it after (presumably) spending a fair amount of cash shipping freight and people to test an old car for 4 days seems a strange move for a company with a cash-flow problem.
I wasn’t expecting much on track from Sauber this year, but IIRC the drivers were quoted making quite specific and positive noises about this year’s car (as opposed to the usual vague stuff about how ‘it feels really good, I’m very optimistic’ that one usually gets when a team is just trying to appease potential sponsors).
I’m not a great admirer of Mark Smith (Renault R24 [not rigid enough and they only found out by mistake half way through the season], Red Bull RB2 [cooling], Caterham CT03 & CT05, Team Lotus / Caterham in general [general underperformance, especially in the final two years in which they were outraced by a worse-funded and worse-resourced opponent), but I was wondering if he might have pulled something out of the hat for Sauber this year.
Have you heard any rumours about the C35? And did he have any significant hand in it? (I get that normally a new car would mostly have been locked in by the time he arrived; I’m wondering if and how much budget constraints might have pushed the process back for Sauber this year)?
I think that’s a huge loss for them and another nail in the coffin. Eventually their underinvestment in the team will catch up with them. At the moment their ‘assets’ are still relatively up to date facilities and CFD, but Albert is getting old now…