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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?

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An F1 fan since 1972, NC has spent over 25 years in the technology industry and as a CTO, he focuses on technology integration in commercial workspace design, AV systems integration, digital media strategies, technology planning, consulting, speaking, presenting, sales, content strategy, marketing and brand building.
  • The Imperative Voice

    I think he’s been threatening to get out for years and the Kaltenborn elevation was a way of setting up the succession IMO.

    But whether it would be a good thing is another question. They have struggled since ditching KK and losing Garcia, but at their peak you are talking about a top 2-3 team as BMW Sauber. Even when BMW got out they were a strong “plucky underdog” team that regularly got points and sometimes got podiums. Comparing that to Marussia, Caterham, or even Force India (until recently) would have been too harsh. So it’s hard for me to get excited about a traditionally midtable team potentially getting out. I don’t think that would help the sport.

    If they want to compete, all they need are better drivers. The quality of the team has eroded as they have progressively dropped down in terms of driver quality.

    In terms of Caterham, QPR yo-yos (few years in championship, then 2 in EPL, then back down, then back up) so I don’t know if that’s a lasting justification for anything. Next year they could be relegated right back down.

  • F1 is the only sport I know of with constant rumors and legitimate actions of teams bowing out and selling. On rare RARE occasions American sports teams relocate to different cities. But in F1 there are talks EVERY year of multiple teams on the knifes edge of losing it all, or threatening to sell due to lack of sponsor’s, irresponsible owners hemorrhaging money with there other businesses, wanting the prestige of owning an F1 team but not prepared to support it financially (if they even can) Other teams and owners have there priorities on team management and what assets should come before others completely backwards. Many teams hang on by a thread just by bringing in sub par drivers who bring I’m big money. (Name anothrr sport where that happens). We habe owners in legal trouble a supremo who is being prosecuted. And the big news on the F1 table is whether we should increase team curfews and drop a practice session. How much longer can the teams that aren’t Ferrari, RBR, and Merc hang on? The bottom teams are barely surviving with constant talk of selling or dropping out completely. Sure, Marussia is safe for the moment because they actually scored some points. But how long can they ride that train? Even midfield teams as mentioned in Todd’s article are barely hanging on. SFI have looked good this year, but we all know Vijay is under some serious pressure that could easily trickle down to to the F1 team. I’m not 100% why but even McLaren is having issues, and not just on the track. Massive personnel changes as well as not even having a title sponsor!
    I’m not exactly sure how to conclude my rant. And I know I have left many many other issues out that are hampering the sport. But after looking at the state of my beloved sport it truly saddens me.As i said above, no other sport on earth is as fragile and mismanaged as the one I love the most..I wouldn’t blame Peter Sauber for selling one iota. I would love to see them stick with it and truly contend, but that seems as likely at the moment as the janitor at Lotus being paid.

  • charlie w

    I, for one, never understood why Ferrari never invested or bought the Sauber(or Minardi) team to use for driver development. But Eddie is selling the fact that every time his former team changed hands, he probably got a chunk of cash for the transaction and now he’s enjoying the retired life. I have always liked Sauber but they have constantly underperformed in recent seasons. Maybe Gene Haas should be talking to Peter Sauber real soon.