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When Sauber lost the 'battle of the bottle'

NEWS STORY
05/06/2019

Flashback. Canada 2008. Robert Kubica and BMW Sauber have just won their first ever Grand Prix in the baking heat of Montreal. It's a 1-2, with Nick Heidfeld following Robert home.

The team crowds under the podium as the Polish anthem rings in the air. Some are shedding tears. Up there, Robert punches the air. He's got his trophy. He smiles. There's only one thing left to do... the champagne.

Emotion is a funny thing, though. In the excitement of the moment of his first win, Robert forgets to uncork his bottle. No spray from him, and that's why his winner's bottle remains, to this day, the only one of the team's 27 podium bottles with the cork still in, proudly displayed in the team base in Hinwil.

It's a great Sauber story, one that shows the human side of Formula One. It's a story new starters are told on their first days in the factory... however, it's also not true.

A Canada 2008 winner's bottle, that is true, is still corked. And it's in Hinwil. But there is actually an even more fascinating story about that bottle - one that involved politics, passions and jealousies.

In the aftermath of that win, a benign row, but a row nonetheless, emerged over the ownership of those spoils of victory. Sauber and BMW both wanted to keep the memento, the vessel of the sweetest champagne the Swiss team had ever tasted.

It pleaded and begged but alas, on the occasion, it was the German giant that won 'The Battle of the Bottle': the original is proudly displayed in its Munich museum to this day. Formula One produced a replica and that went to Switzerland.

On the day, Sauber chose to relinquish a precious memory to its partners, with magnanimity and style, aiming to go on building more great memories in the future.

As for the trophy, that remained at Hinwil. From then on, the Swiss team called it "the one we didn't even give them a sniff of".

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Rado, 06/06/2019 15:47

"Dear Pitpass,
I think I found the first ever mistake in one of your articles.
Have a look at this video at which Robert drinks his champagne.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EpqimPliW1c
Nobody's perfect :-)
R
"

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2. Posted by Greg, 05/06/2019 17:13

"Great little story"

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