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Alfa Romeo has its own celebration this weekend

NEWS STORY
25/07/2019

While Mercedes is celebrating its 200th Formula One Grand Prix and 125 years of Motorsport, Alfa Romeo has a little celebration of its own.

The 1994 German Grand Prix is remembered for many reasons: Ferrari's first win since 1990, Jos Verstappen's fiery pit-stop and a double podium for Ligier. However, for a certain Swiss team it was also a memorable date, for it was the first race for Beat Zehnder as team manager at Sauber.

"It all started after the British Grand Prix at Silverstone," recalls Peter Sauber. "On Sunday night, at a legendary party with Eddie Jordan and his band on the stage. We needed a team manager and I saw that Beat, who was our chief mechanic at that time, was in a good mood. I decided to offer him the job there and then - he slept on it and he accepted.

"To understand what kind of person Beat is, however, you need to go even further back in time. It was 1987 and I had put an advert in the local paper, the Zurcher Oberlander, to find a mechanic for our Sportscars. Beat got in touch, but the interview was disappointing. He was too young, and he had no interest in racing - he just wanted to be a mechanic. So, I declined. A month later, he called again and as I still desperately needed a mechanic, I gave him the job.

"That was a good decision indeed! The rest, as they say, is history. He became team manager seven years later in Hockenheim and now, 25 years on, he's still an integral part of the team. You just can't imagine Sauber and Alfa Romeo without him.

"Beat is the most loyal person you can imagine," said Sauber, "he stood by the team in good and in bad times and never wavered, even when other teams tried to poach him away. And believe me, every team could need someone like him!

"His knowledge of the rules is second to none. That's where his good relationship with Charlie Whiting came from. Charlie respected Beat as they could discuss things on the same wavelength.

"Dear Beat, all the best on this anniversary... and here's to the next 25 years!"

"The strength of this team is its people," added Frederic Vasseur, "and we are well equipped to take on this challenge. In this regard, nobody embodies the spirit of our team more than Beat Zehnder. I wish to congratulate him on his 25 years as a team manager and I hope he will enjoy plenty more success with us going forward."

"It will be nice to celebrate Beat's career," said Kimi Raikkonen, "he's been a good friend of mine since my debut at Sauber in 2001."

Check out our Thursday gallery from Hockenheim, here.

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