Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, 2013

Hulkenberg: Sauber problems “a difficult situation”

2013 German Grand Prix

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Nico Hulkenberg, Sauber, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, 2013Nico Hulkenberg admits Sauber’s financial problems are “a difficult situation” for the team.

Reports claim Sauber has been struggling to pay its bills and has stopped development of its C32 chassis.

The team’s chief designer Matt Morris recently left to join McLaren as engineering director.

During the press conference ahead of this weekend’s German Grand Prix Hulkenberg said: “I think it’s a difficult situation, like [team principal] Monisha [Kaltenborn] has told the press yesterday.”

Hulkenberg, who joined the team from Force India this year, added: “I think she and the team and the management is working on a solution and trying to work a way out of it, to get better things.”

“She’s assured me that she’s busy working on that and there’s not much more I can say other than that.”

The Sauber team was owned by BMW from 2006 to 2009 before it was sold back to founder Peter Sauber.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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28 comments on “Hulkenberg: Sauber problems “a difficult situation””

  1. Didn’t Hulkenberg leave FI because of the financial situation the team was in?


    1. Hulkenberg left FI because the sauber car was faster and scoring podiums. Also for a better chance to hop into the Ferrari seat instead of massa. That’s the irony here. I doubt it was because of the financial situation.

    2. @optimaximal I don’t believe he ever said that, unless anyone knows of an interview where he did…

  2. So sad considering last year was by far their best as an independent team…

    Bad timed move by Nico too, in hindsight. But who’d have thought FI would have the upper hand financially speaking?

    1. Mallya would never let the force India team fall out of his hands. Too much ego at stake there. I suppose it is a good thing when it comes to f1.

    2. @-Fer no.65 Yep it is cruel. The same thing happened to Webber. He had the Choice to go to either Renault or Williams and choose the later. Williams lost there BMW backing in 2006 and went down hill fast and haven’t recovered since while Alonso racked up 2 WDC at Renault.

  3. Sauber’s financial difficulties are doubly worrying as they are likely to get a much smaller payout from FOM next season, and have to buy much more expensive engines. Maybe they shouldn’t have switched to HRT livery this season ;-)

    1. Hehe…nice one @adrianmorse

  4. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
    4th July 2013, 15:07

    Poor Hulkenberg can’t catch a break – he definitely deserves a better ride than he is in just to see what he’s capable of.

    Look at the guy’s career from 2005 in the lower classes:

    1. @freelittlebirds it was Hulk’s decision to leave SFI. They had planned on keeping him. It was a bad choice.

      1. No one foresaw this happening. Everyone thought it was a good move. the only chance for him is that Ferrari might hire him at the end of this season

        1. TBH, I kinda saw this happening. I wasn’t expecting such a massive dip in form for Sauber.. But I think most of the pundits missed that the car was *very* average on atleast 50% of the races last year and it appears they moved their development in the wrong direction, so it’s not really a surprise when there is no continuity with drivers.

          If I had been in Hulkenberg’s position I would have stayed with Force India, and thats not a hindsight thing.. You have to look at the development rate of Force India every year and the last few years they’ve improved their position by the end of the season, so considering the car Hulkenberg had when he made the decision, he should have known things were likely to improve further.

          There’s no doubt in my mind he would have got his first podium if he had stayed with Force India this year, he’ll be super lucky if he gets anywhere near the podium with Sauber this year. He needs a lucky Safety car and some rain or something now.

        2. So, I was the only guy who at that time thought it was a very lateral move, expecting Force India and Sauber to be neck and neck this year. @rojov123

        3. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
          5th July 2013, 2:31

          I agree with @rojov123. Sauber had 4 podiums last year and Force India had 0 and still has 0 this season. A podium for Hulkenberg or a possible inherited win this season would have meant the world for his career.

          1. @freelittlebirds yes, u r right. But it is also well known that Sauber’s good results were down to their understanding of their tyres, Force India hadn’t understood their tyres till mid season.

  5. I Love the Pope
    4th July 2013, 15:23

    Good bye, Sauber. When Peter left, the team went south. Perhaps it should keep going south and become Ferrari’s B-team. Or, perhaps it should be bought by Toyota.

    Or, perhaps most sadly, it will fold.

  6. Chris (@tophercheese21)
    4th July 2013, 15:28

    Everything seems to have gone downhill since Peter Sauber’s departure.

  7. I honestly wouldn’t want to see Sauber gone. They’re the third oldest privateer in F1 and it’s surprising how long they have survived despite all the difficulties. Still, they’re somewhat Ferrari’s “B team”, and following STR’s deal with Renault, I doubt they’ll have to pull back easily.

  8. So the Slim money wasn’t enough this season? or a bast part of the money left the team last year with Perez?

  9. I wonder how much money Hulkenberg brings to the team compared to the package Kobayashi finally lined up? Seems like Sauber don’t have a very good management team in place if they couldn’t generate any additional sponsorship interest from their 2012 results.

  10. Sauber haven’t managed to get the sponsorship of Gazprom (part of the Chelsea link) as of yet and obviously they really could do with it now. It’s quite remarkable how much they are struggling on track and financially, considering how well they did last season. Hulkenberg should have no troubles getting a good drive even if the worst happens anyway, but I really hope they stay.

    1. Last time Gazprom sponsored a team they never bothered paying the bill so that might not be the best thing.

  11. This is never, never a good thing, and I don’t know how the sport’s owners can tolerate the unequal and unfair distribution of revenue that DIeter Rencken has chronicled in his brilliant series of articles. The primary problem is CVC’s extraction of massive wealth from F1, followed by the radically unequal and unfair distribution of prize money that could see Lotus win WCC and still be paid substantially less than Ferrari.

    We the fans – the public – will have to take control and make our voices heard to defend the interests of the teams like Sauber! lol…

  12. I really hope Sauber are able to get financial support sooner rather than later.

    It would be such a shame to see another team forced to leave the sport – especially one that’s been such a long-standing member of the grid as Sauber.

  13. Really hope Sauber can bounce back from this. As for the Hulk, hoping kimi will vacate a seat at lotus next year if Ferrari doesn’t work out.

  14. I’m still wondering how much Sauber lost due to BMW’s exit and if RedBull bought Jaguar because Sauber was no longer available for sponsoring.

  15. Should have stuck with Force India, Hulkenburg you greedy fool!

  16. mark powell
    6th July 2013, 8:15

    What you all seem to forget, that Vijay malya and sahara have other business financial problems in india and the way it was protrayed up and down the grid, its no wonder hulkenberg jumped ship. SFI may look good on paper and on the screens, deep down there will be problems lurking, last year i read that SFI had problems paying wages including the drivers, and they wernt happy. The boost is with the help of Mclaren and they are doing a great job too infact better than Mclaren this season. But how long will this honeymoon last if SFI defalts the payments to Mclaren. that is the question. To be honest monisha is doing a great job, but the team was run at the helm by peter sauber, when sponsors and future investors want to meat the man you cannot as he has retired. finance or a lack of it its no surprise and F1 is a sea full of sharks and they all are ready to bite.

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