Sauber’s financial brinkmanship appears to be over – at least in the short term - with news that an obscure investment company has taken over as owner of the besieged Formula One outfit.
The Swiss team has been beset with financial strife this season, with serious cashflow problems and an operating budget well below its rivals on the grid.
Little-known Longbow Finance SA has acquired Sauber Holding AG, the holding company of the Sauber Group. Longbow Finance SA is incorporated in Switzerland and apparently active in financial investments for more than 20 years. It has been driver Marcus Ericsson’s prime backer for some years.
Sauber says there will be no changes to the team name or the company. However the new ownership means that Peter Sauber will retire, relinquishing his role as president of the board of directors. Sauber will be succeeded as chairman of Sauber Holding AG by by Pascal Picci, the president and CEO of Longbow Finance.
Monisha Kaltenborn will remain on the board and continue to lead the company as CEO and team principal.
Peter Sauber commented: "I am very happy that my courageous investment to buy the team back, which I made six years ago, with the intention to secure the base in Hinwil and the place in Formula One has proved to be correct."
The news provides a boost to the struggling team, which F1 insiders feared might not survive much longer.
Cashflow issues meant employee salaries were paid late for four successive months.
Sauber has also been unable to upgrade its car through the current because of a lack of money. It withdrew from both in-season tests, with a lack of new parts to test one of the key reasons.
Neither of its drivers – Marcus Ericsson and Felipe Nasr – has scored points this season and Sauber currently languishes in 11th place in the constructors’ title standings.
Peter Sauber’s team originally entered F1 in 1993. BMW subsequently bought it and it ran as the German manufacturer's factory squad from 2006-09, with Sauber then stepping back in to rescue the team when BMW decided to quit the championship.