Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, Suzuka, 2012

Top Sauber drivers name their favourite races ahead of team’s 400th appearance

F1 History

Posted on

| Written by

Sauber will make its 400th appearance in a grand prix weekend at the United States Grand Prix next week.

The Swiss team entered Formula One in 1993, and competed as BMW Sauber between 2006 and 2010.

To commemorate the occasion, Sauber asked eight of its most famous former drivers to pick their favourite moments at the wheel of their cars:

Karl Wendlinger

Karl Wendlinger, Sauber-Ford C14, 1995
Karl Wendlinger drove for Sauber until 1995
“In our first year in Formula One I was part of a great Sauber moment during the fourth race of the season in Imola. It was exciting as I started the race, surprisingly in P5, just behind Alain (Prost), Damon (Hill), Michael (Schumacher) and Ayrton (Senna).”

“Because of the rain, we started the race with more downforce and I was able to compete against Schumi and Gerhard (Berger). That was a great fight which I still remember well.”

“As the rain stopped shortly after the start, we then changed to slicks. On the straights we had way too much downforce and, therefore, less speed. Schumi was able to outstrip Aguri (Suzuki), but I couldn’t. Around ten laps before the end of the race I was in P4. Suddenly an engine failure stopped me. That’s why I will never forget these great fights and especially this race.”

Heinz-Harald Frentzen

“As a long-standing Sauber driver I was part of many highlights. My nicest memory was definitely finishing third at the Italian Grand Prix in Monza in 1995 – behind Johnny (Herbert) and Mika (Hakkinen).”

“For the Sauber F1 Team, as well as for me, it was the first podium in Formula One. We celebrated this landmark as if it was a victory. I remember this quite well: There were not only tears of joy, but also a lot of champagne flowing. That was very emotional – a superb moment, which can’t be forgotten.”

Johnny Herbert

“Actually there are many unforgettable moments with Sauber – too many good as well as some not so good memories. One moment was in 1997. We had many great races in this season. In Imola we started the race from P7 and were very strong, fighting against Williams and Ferrari for a podium. In the end we had to retire due to an electric failure.”

“There was also the race on the Hungaroring. This was a really nice moment. I only started from P10, but in the end Jacques (Villeneuve) Damon and myself were able to beat Michael after a great fight. That was terrific. A highlight.”

Nick Heidfeld

Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, Bahrain, 2007
Heidfeld beat Alonso in Bahrain in 2007
“It was a relief to get the first podium in 2001 at the wet race in Sao Paulo, which was then followed by a beer shower afterwards. In the same year, together with Kimi (Raikkonen), we finished P4 in the constructors’ championship, which was a fantastic team success.”

“For me the 2007 season with BMW Sauber was exceptional. We were on the way to the top and the car suited my driving style well. I extracted the full potential from it and took every opportunity that came up for a top three result.”

“My highlight was one manoeuvre during the Bahrain Grand Prix when I managed to overtake Fernando (Alonso’s) car on the outside, we were wheel to wheel, right on the ragged edge. I have to admit that I watch this moment once in a while, and I am proud that I drove this BMW Sauber car.”

Felipe Massa

“My time at Sauber is special to me because it was the start of my Formula One career. Overall I spent three years there, living in Switzerland and learning a lot while in the car. We had some good results, and I was in the points in the second race of my first season.”

“My stand out moment was in Canada in 2005 when I finished fourth, but we had many good performances in the years I was there. I have many fond memories.”

Robert Kubica

Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, Montreal, 2008
Kubica scored his sole win for BMW Sauber
“I have great memories from my time at Sauber. One of the most important is surely my first ever podium in Formula One, which I celebrated in Monza 2006 together with BMW-Sauber. I finished in P3 at my third race as a Formula One driver, after being promoted by the team from a reserve to race driver. I believe that this third place was an important achievement for my future career. It also showed the potential of the car at that time.”

“My victory at the Canadian Grand Prix two years later in 2008 is definitely a moment to remember forever, not only for myself but also for the team.”

Kamui Kobayashi

“My Sauber moment was in 2012 when I achieved my first podium ever at my home race in Suzuka. This is one of the greatest memories in my life. Finishing in P3 and standing on the podium in front of my fans was amazing.”

“After the nuclear catastrophe in Fukushima in 2011, it was a very difficult time for us. I cannot say that in one word, but this podium was a very special moment for me as well as for my fans. As a team we were fighting hard to make that happen. During my time at Sauber we had good as well as less good times, but overall we really enjoyed working together. We worked very hard and fought a lot. That is the most important. We always did our best.”

Sergio Perez

Fernando Alonso, Sergio Perez, Sepang, 2012
Perez almost won at Sepang in 2012

“I would like to congratulate Sauber on reaching the milestone of 400 races in Formula One. It was my first team, and together we celebrated some fantastic moments.”

“The highlight was my first podium in Malaysia in 2012, which was one of the best races in my career. I was able to push Fernando hard for the final few laps and the victory was almost within reach.”

“Then, later that year in Monza, we celebrated another second place. It was a day when everything came together and the car was working perfectly. I did a really good job of looking after the tyres and that helped me move up through the field after having started from P12. We had the pace to attack and I had some nice battles, but everybody was fair. And I was able to beat both Ferrari. It was just a very enjoyable race in Monza.”

F1 history

Browse all history articles

Author information

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...

Got a potential story, tip or enquiry? Find out more about RaceFans and contact us here.

30 comments on “Top Sauber drivers name their favourite races ahead of team’s 400th appearance”

  1. Hot damn, that Wendlinger Sauber looks amazing. Scrolling down to the Ferrari and Sauber with the square noses just made my eyes bleed for a bit there.

    1. Agree @tamburello. Would have been better to start from the newest driver/car and go down towards until we got to the best looking car!

  2. No Kimi?

    1. You expect Kimi to give an in-depth interview? ;)

      1. @benh and @iceman241086

        Yes, yes, Sauber. I was there.

  3. No Guido van der Garde ? :-) LOL

  4. Anorak note: While the next race will be the 400th appearance for Sauber/BMW Sauber, it will only be the 397th time their cars have taken the start.

    Sauber withdrew from the 1994 Monaco Grand Prix after the crash which left Karl Wendlinger in a coma, pulled out of the 2000 Brazilian Grand Prix on safety grounds after a series of wing failures, and also did not start the 2005 United States Grand Prix along with all the other Michelin runners.

    1. Good point!

  5. This article makes me realize just how many talented drivers Sauber have fostered throughout the years.

    1. @kingshark and it’s good to see that even now, and after all the financial problems, they still choose talent. Even Marcus has performed well, and when the car delivers, Nasr shows he is an excellent driver.

      1. and their bank accounts are also high high high

    2. Despite being and having mostly ever been a midfield team, the talent they can boast is amazing. Massa, Raikkonen here forgotten, Herbert, Frentzen, and even the others which didn’t make it still stood out in contrast to rival teams’ drivers. Hope Sauber reach 400 more races, but when I think of them I always think of Peter Sauber hiring Raikkonen and Massa in two consecutive years, 2001 and 2002, a pair which teamed-up at Ferrari only five years later to win the constructors’ championship.

  6. Sauber did so well in 1993 and Lehto was straight into the points in South Africa after surviving that colossal rain storm at the end. Absolutely beautiful looking car too – sleek and black, lovely stuff.

  7. Awww I wanted to hear what Giedo van der Garde’s favourite Sauber moment was.

    1. @tonyyeb Cashing the check.

  8. Karl Wendlinger’s Sauber for sure was an inspiration of the team current livery. Deep Blue

    1. Not really, no offence are you colour blind? Kubica wasn’t over enthusiastic over his one victory in f1 because as we all know Heidfeld waived what would be his record ending streak of most 2nd places with no victories tally. Perhaps it was for the best, everyone knows Sterling for not winning the championship, and everyone knows Nick for not winning a race. It sounds bad but Sterling was sterling and Nick was ok.

  9. Yes, let’s not forget youthful Seb Vettel, he drove a Sauber first in F1

    He was given his first opportunities in F1 in a SAUBER, testing and then a solitary race. He impressed from the first time he stepped into an F1 car, snapped up by STR Team, as a full timer, and the rest is history. Similar to Schumi , 1 race with Jordan (although that car was a real piece of junk)

    1. FlyingLobster27
      16th October 2015, 14:29

      That “real piece of junk” scored 13 points and landed 5th place in the WCC in Jordan’s first season! The next cars for Jordan were rubbish though, powered by the unreliable Yamaha engine.

    2. That piece of junk fought for the win at that very same race in the hands of De Cesaris.

    3. i don’t know if Vettel was snapped out of Sauber As far as i can remember, he was in the red bull junior programme, so he was going to STR/RBR sooner rather than later

  10. No RAI and no VET.

    That’s odd.

    1. @davidnotcoulthard No Hulk as well, actually there are more caveats.

      1. no Sutil either …

        Didn’t Hulk also leave because he had not received his salary yet?

  11. My fondest memory of Sauber must be Australia 2011. I only started watching regularly in 2009 and missed their first incarnation, but after a poor 2010 which Peter Sauber fought with determination he kept Kobayashi and signed GP2 runner-up Perez and they finished 8th and 7th respectively after perfectly deciding a startegy and making it work. It was especially great for Perez as he was 7th on début, and both held behind Massa’s Ferrari. Such a shame they were disqualified for a technical infringement.

  12. The 2008 Canadian Grand Pix was the first GP I ever attended. I have a special place in my heart for both Kubica and the BMW Sauber F1.08!

  13. Sauber have drivers that can be successful but they can’t build good cars which is a shame.

  14. I miss Kamui Kobayashi. :-(

  15. Err no Alesi!? Qualified 2nd and had a podium finish for the team.

  16. Robert Kubica brought about Sauber’s highest point, Kubica gave them their only win and was the only Sauber driver to ever lead in F1 world championship points (after that result). did he have a chance at the championship if Sauber hadn’t chosen to end development of 2008 car early? maybe, maybe not, we will never know, but there choice to end development and concentrate on 2009 car proved a failure when you look at the cars performance in 2009.

Comments are closed.