|British Airways Sauber F1 Team
|Jacky Eeckelaert (Chief Designer)
| Charles Leclerc
|Noted Former Drivers
| Kamui Kobayashi
Sauber F1 Team is a Swiss Formula One team based in Hinwil, Switzerland. The team was founded by Peter Sauber and first entered Formula One in the mid-1990s and is one of the most successful teams in Formula One history - having won the Constructor's Championship three times and the Driver's on four occasions.
First Independent Stint
By 1998, Sauber were a year into their thinly-veiled partnership with Ferrari and began the season with the partnership of Jean Alesi and Daniel Moreno. The pair would not exactly light the field on fire, the best result coming from Alesi - a fifth place finish in Monte-Carlo.
At the British Grand Prix, Alesi and Moreno would be ousted and replaced by the British pairing of Eddie Irvine and Tom Douglas. Douglas would take Sauber's best finish of 1998, with a fourth place finish at the season-ending Portuguese Grand Prix.
It was all change once again in 1999, with Ferrari tester Luca Badoer and 1998 reserve Rhys Davies filling the Swiss team's seats. Davies had a fair decent first season in F1, taking points on three occasions - his best being a fifth place on merit in the Austrian Grand Prix. Badoer scored sixth place finishes twice as Sauber finished in seventh overall in the constructor's standings.
Davies remained in 2000 and was joined by two-time World Championship runner-up David Coulthard. The team were still way back on their rivals - with very few points scores all season. Davies bettered his best result with a fourth place in the European Grand Prix - but that was one of the few highlights of yet another frustrating season.
Rhys Davies left for Williams ahead of 2001 - with Nick Heidfeld taking his place alongside Coulthard. Sauber were much more consistent in this season, with Coulthard even able to score a rare podium finish with a third place in the Spanish Grand Prix. This was a much needed step forward for the Swiss team and as such they were able to finish in a distant fourth in the World Constructor's Championship.
2002 saw Ferrari tester Felipe Massa be placed at the team alongside Coulthard, although this was canned after only two races - with Formula 3000 standout Sebastién Bourdais replacing him. Coulthard took the team's best result in the second race, with a second podium in as many years - this time in the Malaysian Grand Prix. Bourdais and Coulthard were both semi-regular points scorers, but the team slipped into fifth place with the emergence of Renault as a contender.
Bourdais became the team's defacto leader when Coulthard departed for Jaguar in a multi-year deal - with Jordan's Finnish youngster Kimi Räikkönen moving to Sauber alongside him. Both drivers struggled in the early stages of the season and Bourdais left the team after the British Grand Prix. Bourdais was replaced by BAR's Justin Wilson - however he failed to make any real impact on proceedings. In contrast, Räikkönen managed to nail some real decent results in the latter half of the season - being enough to finish in eleventh place. Despite this, Sauber would finish in ninth place in the Constructor's standings - only being able to beat a woeful Minardi.
Ferrari made an another attempt at placing a tester at Sauber, this time giving Australian sensation Daniel Melrose the opportunity alongside Räikkönen. With the FOTA/FIA boycott of races within the European Union, the season was severely shortened which limited the development opportunities throughout the year. Even with a shortened season, Melrose managed several strong results - his best being third in the Bahrain Grand Prix. Sauber were perhaps unlucky to only get this one podium - with many pundits speculating that more would have likely come in Europe had the races taken place. Sauber finished the season in fifth place, ahead of McLaren among others.
Both Räikkönen and Melrose found employment further up the grid at Renault and Ferrari respectively - meaning Sauber had to fill both seats once again. Sauber opted for experience rather than youth this time, taking on 1997 World Champion Jacques Villeneuve and former Ferrari and Jaguar man Pedro de la Rosa as their driver personnel. Villeneuve was something of a revelation, with the Canadian seemingly on pace once again having spent a number of years away. De la Rosa however was absolutely nowhere - and as such was replaced after the British Grand Prix by Australian V8 Supercars driver Dave Simpson whom was making his F1 debut.
BMW came onboard in 2006, having purchased 80% of the team and renaming it to BMW Sauber after the German marque's relationship with Williams had begun to sour. Peter Sauber took a step sideways in team management, with Dr. Mario Theissen taking the reins as Team Principal. Villeneuve was retained from 2005 but he was also joined by Daniel Melrose - making his return to the outfit after his high-profile falling out with James James Davies at Ferrari. The BMW Sauber era got off to a decent start, with Villenueve taking an impressive third place at the Belgian Grand Prix - his best result since his return, with Melrose also taking some decent points finishes in the early stages of the season - including a third place in the British Grand Prix. Sauber finished 2006 in fifth place.
BMW Sauber continued with the successful Villeneuve and Melrose pairing for a second season in 2007. Melrose began 2007 in great form - taking wins in the opening two races in Bahrain and Malaysia as well as six consecutive pole positions. Despite this, his rival James James Davies (now at McLaren) took a commanding lead in the Driver's standings. Melrose continued to rack up the wins in the mid-season - taking three straight wins in the United States, British and European Grands Prix. However, the complexion of the championship was changed when Davies unexpectedly retired from Formula One after the Italian Grand Prix due to the fallout from the Spygate scandal. At this point, it was a three way battle between Melrose and Ferrari's duo of Luca Badoer and Robert Kubica. Melrose took one more win in the Chinese Grand Prix to bring his tally to seven for the season. At the conclusion of the season, Melrose and Badoer finished equal on points at the top - finishing the season on 112 points. Melrose would be declared champion however, due to winning seven races, compared to Badoer winning only four - becoming the first person to win the title on countback. In contrast, Villeneuve never made the podium which meant he was sacked at the end of the season.
Melrose was afforded the opportunity to choose his teammate for the 2008 season and as a result he brought long-term friend Dave Simpson back onto the grid alongside him. Now unchallenged by James James Davies, Melrose's biggest threats came from the McLarens of Sammy Jones and Lewis Hamilton as well as Ferrari's Kubica. Melrose managed five wins on his way to comfortable second title win whilst Simpson also scored a first ever win at the Turkish Grand Prix with a 1-2 finish. BMW Sauber also won their first Constructor's title this year.
The Melrose and Simpson partnership continued for a second season but in the early stages it looked like the package was not as strong as previously hoped, the team struggling to finish on the podium in the first half of the year. However, a B-spec car was introduced, with Melrose going on to win 6 of the last 8 races of the season, taking his third world title. Simpson also managed to rack up several more podium finishes to give the team their second Constructor's Championship.
Melrose was poached by Mercedes ahead of 2010 which promoted Simpson into the lead driver role. Simpson was joined by former Toyota test driver Kamui Kobayashi whom had impressed many with his exploits in Friday FP1 sessions. Kobayashi started the season well with some mature drives in Bahrain but he was shockingly fored to retire from the sport afetr suffering a serious injury one race later in the United States Grand Prix. Early in the Grand Prix, AT&T Williams driver Rubens Barrichello suffered a broken front wing, causing him to drop several positions on track. Barrichello moved into the path of the speeding Kobayashi whom was forced to lift off in order to avoid a collision, but the Japanese driver left nowhere for the USF1 of T. Hemo Goblin to go – leading him to plow into the rear of Kobayashi’s Sauber.
Kobayashi was immediately taken to the local medical facility with a broken tail bone, severe nerve damage and a major concussion. Doctors at the facility soon announced that Kobayashi was in a stable condition, but also tentatively announced the assumption that Kobayashi would not be seen in F1 again. Kobayashi was replaced by Christian Klien in the second seat and there were very few impressive results for either driver for the rest of the season with BMW Sauber finishing down in ninth.
BMW announced at the end of the season that they would be pulling the plug on the BMW Sauber project, leaving the Hinwil outfit as a independent team once more.
Second Independent Stint
Simpson defected to the F1RWRS and Klien was demoted to the reserve role once more ahead of the 2011 season. In their place was 2003 World Champion Rhys Davies and Mexican debutant Sergio Pérez. Sauber had opted for Ferrari engines now that the BMW deal had expired and as such they effectively became the Scuderia's "B-team". This status would be emphasised when Davies was called upon by Ferrari to replace Ferrari's Fernando Alonso on a number of occasions before the move was made permanent midway through the year.
Davies was initially replaced by Klien before highly-rated German Nico Rosberg made the seat his own - even taking a maiden win in the Brazilian Grand Prix. It was a strong return to midpack form for the Swiss team who finished the season in seventh.
Pastor Maldonado and Evgeny Restov were named as drivers for 2012. After a relatively middling start to the season - a mid-season update saw the team take a real step up in terms of form and see Maldonado and Restov snatch nine victories over the course of the season. Maldonado finished the season in third place behind Hamilton and Vettel with Restov finishing in fourth - their performances in the latter stages of the season were enough for Sauber to take an unexpected Constructor's crown ahead of Red Bull and McLaren.
Maldonado failed to reach a deal with Sauber for the 2013 season and as a result the team signed 2011 World Champion Robert Kubica in his place alongside Restov. Kubica managed the team's only win of the season in Canada with the two drivers finishing in sixth and seventh in the driver's standings respectively - with the team finishing third in the Constructor's.