Kaltenborn’s departure is bad news for Wehrlein

Sauber team boss Monisha Kaltenborn has parted company with the team following 17 years with the Swiss squad, according to reports that first surfaced this morning.

Kaltenborn, who relinquished her shares in the company when Longbow Finance purchased the team in 2016, leaves her position as team principal and chief executive officer.

Her influence on the team of late is unquestionable and her departure signifies that Sauber is a team whose philosophies could be set for an overhaul.




Sauber’s Superman the big story on Saturday in Melbourne

Ferrari’s scintillating pace, Grosjean’s excellent sixth and Ricciardo’s heartbreak were all big stories in the opening qualifying session of the new era. It was a Saturday with plot points aplenty, yet one of the most fascinating and awe-inspiring tales came in the battle to progress from Q1. Unusual, but stick with me on this one.

Unusual, but stick with me on this one.

2016 GP2 Series runner-up Antonio Giovinazzi has been parachuted into the Sauber seat vacated by Pascal Wehrlein, who following his accident at January’s Race of Champions and subsequent truncation of his winter training programme, is not sufficiently fit to complete a race distance.

Finding out that you are to make your Grand Prix debut on the morning of Qualifying day is hardly ideal. No one told Gio that though.

Antonio Giovinazzi


Stunning C36 livery conceals potential problems on Sauber’s horizon

Launch week has commenced this morning, with Sauber tweeting the first photo of their 2017 challenger – the C36 – which sports a stunning new livery. Sauber celebrates 25 years in the sport this season, and their paint shop has crafted a suitably striking blue, white and gold livery to commemorate the milestone.

The colour scheme may well have proved an early hit with fans – even if some have dubbed it a Ligier – but it does potentially mask some looming issues on Sauber’s horizon, despite last years eleventh-hour investment.




Manor’s collapse highlights one of F1’s fundamental flaws

Well, that soggy Sunday in Brazil has had some ramifications. Following a meeting of employees at the Banbury base on Friday morning, Manor Racing have once again been placed into administration. Once again, they will need to initiate a great escape if they are to make the grid in Melbourne.

It’s a stark reminder of how F1’s small teams are feeling the pinch under the current regulations.

rio-haryanto-2016-spanish-gp-qualifying-manor (more…)


Wehrlein signing signifies make or break 2017 for Ericsson

When Nico Rosberg headed for the exit door of Brackley with his Drivers’ Championship trophy in hand, speculation regarding his replacement took the F1 world by storm. For quite some time now, it has seemed a two-horse race between Williams star Valtteri Bottas and Mercedes’ very own protege, Pascal Wehrlein.

Bottas became the front-runner in mid-December and with Wehrlein now confirmed at Sauber for 2017, the Finn seems to have edged the German out of F1’s most sought-after seat.

With all talk centering around Mercedes, one element of the story that seems to have been overlooked thus far is the impact the signing will have on Sauber. Wehrlein’s move to Hinwil will have some fascinating consequences, not least what it means for Marcus Ericsson’s career.

The Swede is about to enter his fourth season in the sport and has been solid, if far from spectacular, during his stay. In his defense, his anonymity in 2014 was much more a product of Caterham’s imminent doom rather than a reflection of Ericsson’s speed. His two years at Sauber have seen him buried in midfield obscurity, again, suspected to be more down to car performance than a lack of talent.

The only measure of a driver in Ericsson’s position is his performances against his teammate. Battling against Felipe Nasr for the past two seasons, Marcus has fared relatively well, particularly during the latter stages of the 2016 campaign. Sure, it was Nasr whose points in Brazil secured tenth place in the Constructors for the team, yet Ericsson’s drive to 11th in Mexico was just as special, albeit not rewarded.

Why then, am I rabbiting on about Marcus Ericsson on Pascal Wehrlein’s big day. Well, neither Kamui Kobayashi, (Ericsson’s teammate in 2014,) nor Felipe Nasr have been touted as having the outstanding potential that Wehrlein has. If Ericsson can out-perform the heir to a Mercedes drive over the course of the next season, his stock will rise significantly.

Despite Wehrlein’s tender age, the Mercedes badge on his overalls and DTM Championship Trophy on his mantlepiece means that we finally have a more meaningful yardstick to judge Ericsson by.

There is an enormous amount of attention on Wehrlein and as a result, Ericsson will now experience similar scrutiny. He’s been flying somewhat under the radar thus far, but 2017 will be a make or break year for the Swede.


Five drivers best placed to land the Mercedes seat

It’s the day after deadline day and the rumour mill is just as rampant as you would expect. Nico Rosberg’s shock retirement announcement has given Mercedes a problem. Not only do they have to fill a World Champion’s shoes, but also find a driver who can cope with the formidable force on the other side of the garage, all while potentially having to consider the possibility of throwing money at a team for a driver already signed for 2017.

I wouldn’t want to be in Toto Wolff or Paddy Lowe’s shoes. But, if I was, here’s who would be on my shortlist.


Image Credit: Imago



What Rosberg’s bombshell says about his title and Mercedes’ future

It takes quite a news story to stop the F1 world spinning mid-week. For the second time in 12 months, F1 fans were sent into a frenzy of discussion and debate without even having a race to watch. Max Verstappen replacing Daniil Kvyat at Red Bull seemed set to be 2016 biggest bombshell news story until Nico Rosberg raised the bar, announcing his retirement from F1 just days after clinching his maiden title in highly dramatic circumstances.

A news story with an extraordinary amount of layers that has sparked widespread debate. Here is my take on the decisions and resultant shockwaves that could shake F1 for a while to come…


Image Credit: PA