When asked by the German publication Sport Bild how things are going at Sauber, the Swiss team's boss replied: "I can't complain." Monisha Kaltenborn, however, is very much complaining about the governance of formula one, having joined Force India in lodging a formal complain to the European Commission. "Because the process has been initiated," she confirmed, "we can't say any more about it at the moment."
What Kaltenborn will confirm, however, is that life in the middle of the grid for an independent team is now "very difficult". She said costs have spiralled out of control to the point that rising to the podium as a small team, although the Hinwil squad has done it in the past, is now "as good as impossible". Kaltenborn said teams like Sauber have been locked out of the rule-making process, in stark contrast to the bigger and more powerful rivals.
"That's right. When the engine rules were made, we were not part of it. I have nothing against the hybrid technology," she insisted, "it's just about the cost. It's not right when six teams that are in the so-called strategy group arbitrarily determine the rules. That has nothing to do with fair competition," said Kaltenborn.
When asked if she can name another sport that has a similarly unfair system, she answered: "I don't know any. So I think we should be learning from those other sports. For example NBA in the US, the player draft is designed in consideration of the smaller teams. Also English and German football, where the top teams get the most money but everyone has enough to survive. The distribution of the money is so much fairer than in F1."
Kaltenborn, however, said that the small teams are rarely listened to, despite the fact she thinks they are "the backbone of formula one". "Basically, we don't do anything other than F1," she explained. "It is our core business. For the manufacturers, at the end of the day it's just a marketing platform. But what would those who support Bayern Munich think if suddenly there are no other opponents for them to compete against?" she asked rhetorically. (GMM)
Bahrain International Circuit - Winter testing