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Kaltenborn giving nothing away

NEWS STORY
23/09/2014

Despite increasing speculation regarding her team's future - or lack of it - Monisha Kaltenborn is giving very little away.

In the wake of the Italian Grand Prix the Swiss team, currently enjoying its worst season since it entered F1 in 1993, was linked with a buy-out by Canadian billionaire Lawrence Stroll. However, as its torrid year continues, and the speculation concerning Stroll fades, there is increasing concern as to the fate of the Swiss team.

Talking to the official F1 website, Kaltenborn's legal background was very much in evidence, as she gave very little away.

"Since Peter (Sauber) bought the team back from BMW it was clear that we are always open to a strong partner," she said of the talk of a buy-out. "We always had a strong partner in the past if you look at Credit Suisse or Red Bull or Petronas - even if they have not been shareholders in the classic meaning - so this is nothing new to us. We also know that if you want to be competitive today you need a strong partner as a private team. From that perspective we have had several talks in the past - and that is all I can say.

And Stroll? "A strong partner is always a good fit, but I cannot comment any more at this point," she responds.

So what of the Russian connection, especially with Sergey Sirotkin driving the Sauber in FP1 at Sochi next month? Has the proposed partnership with Russian backers fallen down?

"It is not falling apart," she insists. "The problem is things take their time and there is no way that we can affect that time line. And maybe things come up for the other side that simply were given more priority. The line between private and public is a very thin one in Russia. Certain political situations equally affect partnerships - and that has also happened. So there is not much you can do but wait."

When asked if a 'modification in ownership', selling a share of the team, be preferable to a complete takeover, she sticks with the lawyer-speak: "With a strong partner we would be able to be more competitive.

"We are a long-established team with a strong tradition," she continues. "We have a very good infrastructure and basis to be able to compete on a good level - and even at the top level if we get sufficient funding - and our solid basis allows us to not require as much funding as others might need to reach that level. The best proof of this is when BMW bought the majority in the team. You had to have everything right in your records and history for a company like BMW to acquire you."

In terms of the disaster that is 2014 and the C33 she adds: "We have not forgotten how to make good cars. This year's challenger is not one of our good cars - but it's also not the worst car!

"We know why this all is happening. We know where we went wrong, but we also see that the powertrain plays an important role this year - that has been proven by other powertrains throughout the grid. We do not have the most competitive one, which makes it very difficult for a team like ours when you are limited on the resources to try and compensate. But we have to live with that and I am sure that our engine supplier is doing everything because they are suffering equally. So we both have to go through this.

"We have a very long lasting partnership with them," she says of Ferrari. "We've been through good times with them and challenging times - and this now is a very challenging time! But you have to have trust in your partners. Maybe they realised what they have not done right - but it is not on us to judge that because we are not part of that. Yes, we see the disadvantages and see that the engine has to improve - and they are working on that."

Returning to the lifeblood of the sport, money, with no sign of an agreement on limiting spending this can surely only mean that budgets will need to be increased.

"We are engaged in talks and if the costs are not going to be regulated - which would be very unfortunate for the sport because it has a negative impact on our image - you, of course, have to work on the income side through investment or sponsorship," she admits. "That is not an easy task these days."

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1. Posted by kiwi2wheels, 24/09/2014 15:14

"[ Lawyers make money happen ] No, they are all self serving parasites. Having one at the helm of a race team is a recipe for disaster.

Remember, she was #1 when Sauber couldn't pay their electricity bill......................"

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2. Posted by my tyres are going off, 24/09/2014 14:30

"Sauber is trying to trade on it's name which in current F1 times ain't worth much. They need a good cash injection and an influx of talent both engineering and driving. As to Ross coming in well that is anyones guess but remember at Honda he was sponsored by Honda and when they pulled out they left a lot of next years technology and cash in place allowing Ross to rebrand and slot in a Merc engine. The rest as they say is history but the big man had the sence to sell out quick whislt still on a high. "

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3. Posted by Paul C, 24/09/2014 1:26

"Bring in Ross Brawn to save the team and let Monisha concentrate on F1 rainmaking. Lawyers make money happen, racers make it disappear. Ross might make a great car, look at what he did with the awful unsponsored Honda."

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4. Posted by kiwi2wheels, 23/09/2014 20:39

"Sauber would be more attractive to investors / potential buyers, even sponsors if she stepped down as principal.

Totally out of her field and an albatross to the team. A principal ( really just a manager after all ! ) needs a racing background, e.g., Christian Horner."

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