Next season will mark a significant milestone for Sauber in that they will celebrate their 25th consecutive season in Formula One. They have achieved some great results in their quarter-century with the sport, but can they finally escape their current patch of poor results in 2017?
The Swiss team scraped their way into 10th in the Constructors thanks to a calculated drive from Felipe Nasr to 9th on a drenched Interlagos circuit that proved enough to beat Manor in the standings.
The team are going into next season with more financial stability which will hopefully see a greater scope for in-season development on their 2017 challenger.
Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn is still unsure of who will be partnering Marcus Ericsson next year after Felipe Nasr’s major sponsor, Banco do Brasil, decided to call it a day.
“His major sponsor took a position which the publicly announced and we obviously accept that. It plays into the assessment of course, which we are making still. We still have not come to a decision but we want to resolve it as soon as possible.
However, it takes more than our side to get that done, so we’re on it and I still hope that we can quite quickly resolve it.”
– Monisha Kaltenborn
Sauber are specialists in drawing in sponsors as an independent team, so hopefully will be in a stronger position next season. They have endured three-years of hardship with a fairly fruitless run of results, but the spirit and rich history of the team does suggest that a break is surely on the horizon.
Their last exciting season came in 2012 thanks to a very impressive car and two incredible drivers. Sergio Perez and Kamui Kobayashi were both in their second year of Formula One and the team delivered a solid car to the offensive pairing who went on to score four podiums and nine finishes in the top-six between them. They were essentially of a similar calibre to Force India or Williams in 2016 – A serious threat to the top six with exciting drivers and a car performing beyond the budget.
Next year, Sauber will be running this year’s power-unit. Whilst this isn’t ideal, it allows the team to spend elsewhere and hopefully join the season-long development race. In some minds, having a year-old power-unit might cause some to quickly write them off, but we only need to look at Toro Rosso this year to see that points can be scored if the chassis makes up for the shortchange on power.
If you’ve started following Formula One in the past few years, you might see Sauber as minnows, but the team have spent most of their Formula One history in and around the points. The team are well overdue a season of quality and there’s no reason to believe that 2017 might see them doing what they have done for many years – Scoring points regularly and being an exciting team once again.