Sauber’s money problems continue

F1 Fanatic Round-up

Posted on

| Written by

In the round-up: Further indication of Sauber’s financial problems as the teams is behind on its staff payments for the third month in a row.

Social media

Notable posts from Twitter, Instagram and more:


Max Verstappen, Red Bull, Spa-Francorchamps, 2015

New Red Bull driver Max Verstappen previously got behind the wheel of one of their cars for a demonstration run at Spa-Francorchamps during the Formula Renault 3.5 weekend last year.

Comment of the day

There was only one big story yesterday and quite a lot of sympathy for Daniil Kvyat:

Firstly, it was a shocker for me to read this. You don’t expect such stories in the middle of the season. Secondly, I really feel bad for Kyvat. I felt that fans, media and his own team were a touch too harsh for his mistakes in Russia and it escalated more due to the discussions from China.

I agree with @willwood that it almost seems like Red Bull was looking for an opportunity to replace Kvyat with Verstappen and give him the opportunity before any other big teams come smelling for his talent and Kvyat was a mere scapegoat ready to be butchered even at the slightest error. Remember Hungary 2015 when his own team did not appreciate his drive to the podium.

I fear that’ll be the end of Kvyat’s Red Bull career and he might be slowly pushed out of Red Bull program all together by the end of the year. Talent wasted!
Neel Jani (@Neelv27)

Happy birthday!

Happy birthday to Brakius and Elly Parker!

If you want a birthday shout-out tell us when yours is via the contact form or adding to the list here.

On this day in F1

Robert Manzon’s Gordini won a non-championship grand prix in Naples on this day 60 years ago, taking two hours and 20 minutes to complete the race.

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.

70 comments on “Sauber’s money problems continue”

  1. So, a relatively quiet news day, huh? 😂

  2. I’ve never held any respect for Helmut Marco’s young driver programme, and Helmut himself, but this is perhaps the worst thing he has ever done. It’s simply insane

    1. Jimmy Price
      6th May 2016, 0:35

      What driver programme do you respect? Helmut has given us Vettel, Ric, Vers, Sainz, and a whole lot more in the pipeline.

      Say what you want but Red Bull has taken away more seats than Merc/Ferrari/Mac have given the sport. It’s their right to do anything the absolutely want with their drivers.

      1. Probably safer to say those drivers have given themselves to us by being good enough to meet Marko’s exactingly high standards.

        The brutality just fits Marko’s Teutonic requirement of perfection – likely born out of the lack of perfection in his career.

        1. To be fair Marko held the distance record at Le Mans for many years with his teammates so his career was not exactly rubbish. Whilst Red Bull are not in title contention it gives them the chance to sift through these young drivers to find the best possible driver line up ready for when they are ready to fight for titles again. Ricciardo came in and won 3 races in his 1st year, Vettel came in 2009 and won their 1st race then followed with 4 titles, he had had about the same F1 experience at the start of 2009 as Kyvatt has now but with all the information they have they see he is not good enough, they pushed him and he cracked. This could be a game of leapfrog, Ricciardo is currently their best but if Verstappen beats him they will be looking for another driver who can beat Verstappen, at the sharp end of any multi million pound business it is going to be cut throat.

      2. Pontouffle
        6th May 2016, 15:05

        Is it really? So, a company can do whatever they want with their workers, regardless of ethics? There’s a difference between respecting Red Bull’s ability to spot and develop talent, and despising the fact that they use it in a terrible way. They develop a lot of young drivers, then mow most of them down to get the best at the moment. The alternative is to take a few and develop them slowly and thoroughly. One is ethical. The other is sleazy and wasteful, and ruins lives for profit. But, you know…. Red Bull has money, so they can do what they want, right buddy?

        1. Jimmy Price
          6th May 2016, 17:17

          Oh yes, red bull is ruining the lives of these drivers by financing their entire career into what is essentially the most egotistical and worthless job when it comes to benefiting the human race. These poor F1 drivers who red bull has given untold sums of money to, made some millionaires, and provided race seats are being treated like slave labor! Someone alerts the UN human rights council!

          “Dear UN, I’m writing you today to alert you to a gross violation of human rights and unethical behavior. Red Bull Racing has taken one of thier drivers who they were kind enough to promote to the mothership out of his race seat and placed him in what could be described as the 5th or 6th fastest car on the grid.”

          Something like that right?

    2. Marco is a genius. He’s the one who saw the talent Verstappen had, when he was only 16. He managed to snag him away from Mercedes who already had a complete career path made for Verstappen.

      1. That is nonsense @paeschli. Just look at what you wrote there! How can Marko be the one who saw the talent Verstappen had when he snatched him away from a Mercedes that had already been talking an planning to get Max into F1 by then!

        In reality “everyone” was aware of his talents and in the bidding war it was Red Bull that offered most to sign him (by offering a drive for STR traight away with promotion for 2017 most likely already in that contract.)

        1. @bascb That’s genius for me : Marko was so sure of himself that he knew he had to do everything to undercut Mercedes’ offer.

          The guy is over 70 years old, yet the passion for motorsport keeps him here in F1. That’s something I respect.

          Just ask yourself: is Kvyat a future world champion? Is Verstappen a future world champion?
          After you’ve answered those two questions, you see it makes perfect sense to switch Verstappen and Kvyat. It’s a logical decision.

          1. Well, @paeschli the part of your comment i took issue with was your claim That somehow Marko was the only one or first one tot spot Verstappens talent. Hé clearing wasn’t

  3. Has anyone else noticed how the entire Mercedes front suspension setup turns when the drivers turn the wheel in a corner? Can’t see any other cars out there that do this. 2 questions:

    1. Is that legal?
    2. Why is no one else doing this, it may be of benefit considering the performance gap Mercedes enjoys over the rest of the field.

    1. Racerdude7730
      6th May 2016, 0:45

      Do you have a video of this? I never took notice of it but that’s very interesting. Can’t believe we didn’t hear of this already

      1. Here is a link to Russia onboards, you can see it quite clearly here. The tighter the turn, the more the movement. I have noticed it for a while, surprised ScarbsF1 or someone hasn’t done a feature on it.


        1. @EF1
          Very interesting, amazing you’ve noticed it! But I can see it only during the warp-up lap, when Hamilton tries to get some temperature into his tires.

          1. Watch when he is behind the Ferrari etc, you can see the better turn in HAM is getting as a result of the wheels pivoting that slight amount on corner entry. Also you can see it lot when switching straight to another car because then you see the lack of movement in their wishbones. But yeah its definitely most noticeable in the slower corners etc and tighter movements of the wheel, hence why it is so noticeable on the warm up lap with the jinking etc to warm tyres.

        2. It sure does look like that is what’s happening, but I think what we’re seeing is an optical illusion caused by the A-arms moving up and down. Particularly when weaving sharply back and forth to warm the tires.

          1. Agree with @schooner Pretty sure this is an optical illusion.

          2. That’s all I can see as well.

          3. have to agree with the illusion, good eye though

          4. ColdFly F1 (@)
            6th May 2016, 6:11

            Well spotted EF1, and thanks for the video link.
            It seems to happen (visually same impact) on other cars; e.g. RBR @ 1:30.

          5. Same here… It’s just an optical illusion created by the light and shadows…

        3. RP (@slotopen)
          6th May 2016, 3:42

          That is a great video. I agree it is an illusion. During Rosbergs pit stop u can see from the front of the suspension, and nothing is happening.

          That video shows Hamilton benefited from Bottas sliding and slowing up Vettel, Kvyat, etc. I think that was why cutting the corner worked so well, not because it was a faster route. Basically he got lucky.

        4. Great video although it doesn’t show what you said I think. However, Jenson Button clearly jumped the start. See Hulkenberg onboard at exactly 06:00 (BUT is to the right on the grid of HUL). Why was it not penalised, or did I miss it?

  4. on COTD: is that real Neel Jani? :О If so, are there any other motorsport guys on f1fanatic?

    1. Peppermint-Lemon (@)
      6th May 2016, 8:26

      I wondered that before after seeing past comments of his. Maybe a “super-fan” lol.

  5. So, kids, the lesson is don’t crash into your team’s arch-hero driver 3 times in 2 races. It didn’t help that he didn’t show any of the contrition that Grosjean (and young Vettel actually) showed when he was labeled a first-lap nutcase.

    Will be very interesting to see how Verstappen performs in his new role, especially in the next few races. The Toro Rossos can be very racey themselves!

    1. I’m calling that Verstappen will pull up at the wrong pit box in the race, at some point

    2. @chaddy 3 times? There was no contact in China. Vettel hit Raikkonen, Kvyat didn’t touch Vettel.

      1. I know they didn’t physically touch, but since he caused the contact, it seems arbitrary to point this out.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          6th May 2016, 16:40

          Come on @chaddy, even Vettel moved on and now calls it a racing incident.
          Follow your hero (based on your profile pic) and stop posting this nonsense.

    3. “So, kids, the lesson is don’t crash into your team’s arch-hero driver 3 times in 2 races.”

      Kvyat didn’t

      “It didn’t help that he didn’t show any of the contrition that Grosjean (and young Vettel actually) showed when he was labeled a first-lap nutcase”

      And Verstappen was full of contrition when he crashed into the back on Grosjean wasn’t he …. oh wait.

  6. So that’s Romain Grosjean to Ferrari then?

    1. @jaymenon10 Did I miss a confirmation by Ferrari that Kimi won’t continue in 2017? Don’t count him out. Especially if Grosjean is his rival for the seat

  7. @Neelv27 Agree with COTD apart from the last sentence. Whom RBR are going to replace Kvyat with for next season? Gasly, who had never even won a race at the FR3.5/Gp2 level? No one else in the program is even close. Unless Gasly raises his game up dramatically this year or some crazy left field Verstappen-like option comes along I don’t see a threat for Kvyat’s STR seat for 2017. However if he wants to drive for top team again someday he needs to leave the Red Bull camp as that route is now closed for him forever. Next up for promotion is Sainz and Kvyat will be sent to the scrapheap at the end of 2017. That’s why he needs to evaluate his options in other F1 teams pronto

    1. Joao (@johnmilk)
      6th May 2016, 7:50

      da Costa. But that is wishful thinking on my part

      1. @johnmilk Unfortunately yes, wishful thinking, especially given the fact that da Costa was the driver overlooked to give Kvyat a place in F1 in the first place

        Come to think of it, one left field option I can think about is Frijns. Now that would be a feel good story! I don’t like him at all, with his arrogance and the conduct that I never forgave him about but he’s one hell of a driver and hopefully by now he learned his lesson in humility

      2. @johnmilk, the indication is that Red Bull believed he underperformed when he drove for them during the Young Driver test sessions in 2012, whilst the feedback which the team received through Arden painted an unfavourable picture of his technical ability, particularly with regards to setting up a car. Finally, he was perceived to have not shown his full potential in 2013 when he tried to battle for the title in the FR 3.5 series, where he was thought to have dealt poorly with the pressure upon him.

  8. Welcome to WEC/IndyCar, Danii..

    Russian Nights: The Ballad Of Danii Kvyat.

  9. Does anyone realistically expect the Russian grand prix to be on the calendar in three years time??!!

    1. @swh1386 They have a contract till 2020. So yes, I do. Moreover, is your implication that Kvyat=Russian GP? Firstly, this implication is wrong. When the deal was done, no one new there would be another Russian driver and Petrov had already gone. Russian GP has other purposes, though a Russian driver obviously helps. Secondly, even if there was a connection STR have no one to replace Kvyat with for 2017 at least, unless something dramatic happens. And when Kvyat’s finished with RBR programme who’s to say he won’t end up in another F1 team? It’s not like he’s been hopeless or talent-less. Lastly, even disregarding the previous points, Sergey Sirotkin will soon be in F1

      1. My comments don’t don’t refer to a specific driver, more the state of F1 overreaching into new countries indifferent to F1, with a state backed race on a dull circuit. The Russian grand prix could easily go the way of India or Korea if the public don’t take to it and the government get bored of it (did these races have longer contracts?).

  10. I don’t think it was RB who was looking for an excuse to do this. I think it was the pressure of losing Verstappen to the opponents, whether this pressure came from the Max camp or the Ferrari camp I don’t know. @Neelv27 I think Kvyat did get some sympathy but the underlying fact is that Kvyat on equal terms has only manage to beat Ricciardo a couple times and those times last year Ric and RB suspected they had a chassis issue, they changed it and Ricciardo went faster. Kvyat had great commitment and car control but he has stagnated and possibly has been acquiring some bad habits, as he was unable to get to grips with the car this season. With RB keeping Daniils racing engineer the team is able to assess better why was the number 2 car so much slower.

  11. There was definitely something going on in the STR garage between Tost and camp Verstappen during the Russian GP. Also remember the Verstappen outburst in Australia. This incident with Kvyat is used by RedBull to kill 2 birds with 1 stone. And settling the STR paddock and having Verstappen scured for multiple years at RBR and avoid Verstappen being snatched by Ferrari or Mercedes.

  12. Not sure if it’s good or bad that Saubers’ plight is being so heavily overshadowed by the Red Bull bombshell.

    Of course it’s not a good thing that they’re struggling, and I definitely feel for the workers most of all, from cleaner to engineer. But at the same time, if the sport is not accommodating to the smaller teams, it might just be time to drop a few and make the 3 car switch…

    There really seems to be no answer to the sponsorship short-fall that has plagued the sport for no short period now.

    1. Joao (@johnmilk)
      6th May 2016, 7:54

      Honestly the only thing that still makes me want Sauber to “survive” are the workers at the track and factory, but considering how they have been behaving for the last couple of years it won’t be such a lose in my honest opinion.

      Maybe some team can buy them, I think it is the only solution for now.

    2. “make the 3 car switch”

      Do that and you’ll end up with about 4 or 5 teams, each fielding 4 or 5 cars. Having 3 car teams hands even more power to the big teams by making it even more difficult for the small teams to score the points they need to survive.

      1. I would rather see top teams with 3 cars, I want to see excellence not mediocrity. There are only 3 manufacturer teams in LMP1 and until this year 2 used to have 3 car teams. It also allows more top drivers to compete on an equal footing, I am all for 3 car teams.

  13. ColdFly F1 (@)
    6th May 2016, 6:25

    Do we know where Xevi Pujolar is going?

    1. I’m guessing he’s following Verstappen to Red Bull. While that contradicts the Motorsport article, I’d rather take it from the horses mouth.

      1. From what I am reading in other forums, some of VER’s engineering team is neither staying in TR nor going to RB…

      2. nope @eurobrun, @ coldfly Verstappen will have Kvyat’s engineering crew. Apparently both Pujolar and Verstappen’s data engineer Helvig will both leave the STR but no news on where they are headed (if anywhere, might be only for next season), as @glacierre mentions

  14. The engineering staff, which include the excellent Xevi Pujolar, axed at STR? Something definitely went down there to put this all in motion. Shame they couldn’t find a role for him at RBR

  15. Well, in years past a Russian who crossed the boss-man would have been banished to Siberia, so a banishment to Torro Rosso seems quite mild by comparison.

  16. Re Sauber’s money problems.
    When Leicester wont the Premiership (a subject I am not remotely interested in) I heard a snippet on the radio explaining how the team came from minnows the previous season to victors this year. One of the reasons given was that the Premiership rewards financially all the teams well. It was stated that Leicester would have got about two-thirds the amount that last-year’s Champions received.
    Translate that into F1; can you imagine the effect if Manor or Sauber received two-thirds of the amount that Mercedes or Ferrari received?
    I recognise it’s not the only factor, but without that level of support Leicester would probably not made the zero-to-hero ascent, the Premier League would not have had positive PR and media coverage for days on end, and the fans would have had less reason to look forward to next season.
    A lesson for Bernie/CVC, I believe.

    1. ColdFly F1 (@)
      6th May 2016, 10:35

      Translate that into F1

      I did ‘translate that’ a few weeks ago,and calculated how much F1 teams would earn.

      Teams from FI to Manor would each get some $20m more under EPL distribution rules.

      1. Apples and Pairs, if Sauber had a load more money they will still be no where near the front. Sauber have been mismanaged the only blame lies with their management.

        1. Well that’s as maybe. But the idea of more evenly spread remuneration (in the style of EPL) would benefit Manor, FI, Sauber, Haas etcetera. And you never know, one of them could luck into a race-winning, season-winning design that could return F1 to the attention of the sporting public.
          Remember the media acclaim when Braun won their season? F1 could do with a bit more recognition like that.

      2. Sorry @coldfly, I didn’t see your original post. The comparison only occurred to me when I began to understand how much the EPL support the minnows. The EPL apparently understand that any worthwhile competition needs more that two or three top team’s participation to be worthwhile. Such a contrast to F1 where the lesser teams have been labelled ‘an embarrassment’ by the very man in charge of the series – and purse strings.

        1. ColdFly F1 (@)
          7th May 2016, 10:46

          no worries, @nickwyatt. Fully agree

  17. Melvin (@)
    6th May 2016, 9:14

    looking forward to read the details of this Verstappen- Kvyat thing in some biography later. I get this feeling that there is an awful lot we don’t know about going on in the background for some time.

  18. I don’t really see kvyat’s seat as something completely unexpected or even tragic. It is not uncommon for teams to switch drivers mid season. Usually it is about money but it does happen. Now we have an under achieving red bull driver and promising future talent switching seats. If there is some kind of lack of performance in kvyat he got off easy. He can still drive for a competitive team. Reading some of the comments it almost feels like red bull completely ignored kvyat’s contract and sacked him completely unexpectedly. If you were watching f1 I would have not been surprised at all to see kvyat let go at the end of the season. Compared to that seat change is a much more comfortable option.

    In the background there is always more going on. Reporters generally don’t get the answers that really explain the situation. Most of the time they don’t even get to ask. It just the usual cloak and dagger games.

    The only thing I find a bit surprising is how verstappen was picked over sainz so easily. Red bull of course has better data so they know more. I just hope verstappen is worth this. It would look kinda bad on the red bull if verstappen proved to be just another kvyat level driver and not the next vettel they are always looking for.

    And similarly if they are disappointed with kvyat then why not get rid of him altogether and put some new talent into the toro rosso?

  19. WilliamB (@william-brierty)
    6th May 2016, 9:55

    I hope Marko’s remarks can be taken at face value, because a loose approach to team-driver affiliation would be an intriguing step change in driver marketplace politics.

    Given that Red Bull are not fighting for a world title this year, it makes sense to use this time to evaluate different drivers in different scenarios and with different teammate references. Does the prospect of a further reshuffle mean we could see Sainz in a Red Bull later this year? Could we even see Pierre Gasly make an evaluative cameo at Toro Rosso? As Vandoorne attested, one-off cameo drives can establish your Grand Prix potential.

    I have never been a fan of his, and I thought yesterday’s news was both unnecessary and corrosive, but I am liking how Marko is going about framing it in retrospect. As much as his statement promises to herald a new Red Bull driver philosophy, it could equally be a euphemism for more partisan objections to Kvyat, or as veiling factional rifts in the Red Bull camp.

  20. Pujolar has good skills, but he was also axed at Williams as the chief race engineer at the end of 2013.

  21. Seems like there was some serious SNAFU going on behind the scenes at Red Bull Toro Rosso.

    But in the end no suprise. They just did it in a messy way.

    Instead of gallantly saying “We want to see who is best match for #1 team to pair up with Riciardo… first few races Kvyat, then few races Verstapen finally few races Seinz, so we can pick the best for #1 team.

    It seems this was their intention, but they presented it in … poor manner. Lets call it that. Also there was some drama at STR with them ruining strategy for Red Bull or something? I thought it was against FIA regulation to do such a thing, deliberately mess up results to favour other drivers?

    1. Imagine if we end the year with Verstappen and Sainz at Red Bull and Ricciardo and Kyvatt at Torro Rosso.

  22. Changing drivers during a season shouldn’t be as big an event as its being made out, many other sports do this already. With the driver/team championships already locked down to one team, all that is left is to try and get as high a standing as possible in the team championship. Rotating drivers, trialling reserve drivers or bringing in specialists for specific tracks could spice up the whole event.

  23. While Godfather Old Man Bernie and his partners bankers are earning millions of millions, a great sport team like Sauber have not money to paid his work force.
    Something smell very bad in Formula 1.

  24. Sauber’s problems are ver very large. I’m not glad to this…

Comments are closed.