Back in 2005, Eddie Jordan may have just pulled off the best decision of his life. In fact, he says it was. Back then, Formula 1 was changing and the global financial crunch hadn’t happened yet but Jordan read the tea leaves correctly and sold his mid-field team to Russian Midland Group which later became the Force India team.
Timing is everything in life—well, that an opportunity—and while both elements have eluded me for my entire life, they both appeared to Jordan in 2005 which signaled the end of a 15-year run and 250 races in Formula 1.
Timing is, indeed, everything and Jordan reckons it is now time for his friend Peter Sauber to back out of F1 by selling his team. The two have known each other for decades and Jordan says that Sauber is the most honest guy in the paddock—a sentiment he can’t even say about himself.
The teams miserable season so far and the dual DNF in Monaco are just another reason Jordan feels Sauber should sell. Jordan thinks it would be best to cut the losses and get our before it gets worse.
While rumors circulated that Caterham F1 might be for sale—especially now that team owner Tony Fernandes has made it to the Premier League with his football team—it seems that perhaps Sauber might be a team that should be on offer according to Jordan.
The increased expenses of the new regulations has small teams paying millions for engine supplies and while the series consistently speaks of cost-cutting, there are few signs that unanimous agreement will ever be reached.
American Gene Haas has thrown his hat in the ring but has maintained that he intends to roll his own and has now delayed his entry until the 2016 season. Some argue that Caterham or Marussia would be a better investment for him to shorten his ramp-up time to get in the series and hit the ground running. Perhaps Sauber could be a good alternative as Haas says the Caterham deal isn’t happening.
Regardless, Sauber has been a name in F1 since 1993. They began back in the 1970’s building sports cars but then moved to F1 with the backing of Mercedes using an Ilmor engine. Their rist race in 1993 was in South Africa and they scored points on their debut.
They changed their name to Sauber Mercedes in 1994 as an official factory-backed team. As time progressed they developed a ten-year deal with Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz and became a team that found and developed some very good drivers in F1—such as Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld as well as home to Jacques Villeneuve and Robert Kubica as well as Felipe Massa.
Sauber did sell his team to BMW who promptly left the sport in 2009 and if it were not for the compassion of Sauber himself, the team may have ended there but the Swiss businessman came back to rescue the team saving many jobs and its legacy in F1.
It would be very sad to see it go but I tend to agree with Eddie Jordan, the times have changed in F1 and I wonder how long Peter can continue to find resources to cover the losses. I’ve always cheered for Sauber and admired the man and the team immensely but my admiration for Peter himself finds me wanting the best for him and I’m not sure continuing in the downward spiral is the best thing for him. Perhaps, like Jordan, it is time to read the tea leaves and take advantage of the timing and opportunity?
If you believe in miracles, then perhaps Sauber will gain better footing and spring back to the mid-field with sponsors and a viable, profitable program. They’ve done it before and the question is, does Peter have the desire and will to do it again?